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I spent yesterday guiding my students through the process of developing their belief/philosophy statement on teaching.  I participated alongside my students.  To spend a significant block of time to reflect on my values and beliefs regarding education, teaching, and learning, was quite refreshing.  I haven’t seriously reviewed my belief statement since I was student teaching.  I was amazed and inspired by how much of my teaching practice was reflected in my belief statement.  It makes sense though.  As I write in my book:

An education philosophy statement is the bedrock of any master teacher; it encapsulates the principles and beliefs you bring to your teaching, creating the foundation to guide your teaching practices.

If you haven’t review your belief statement, then I encourage you to reflect and answer the following questions:

  • What motivated you to go into teaching?
  • What values and beliefs would an ideal teacher have?
  • What are your beliefs about students, learning, behavior, respect, school systems, etc.?
  • What changes would you like to see happen in our education system?
  • What values do you want to model for the students inside and outside the classroom?
  • Of your beliefs, which ones are non-negotiable?

Interestingly, one of my students proposed a longer school year for a change she would like to see happen.  Then I asked the class if they would like a longer school year.  Eyes began to shift.  I reassured the students their responses would not leave this room.  Nearly 75% of the students raised their hands in favor or a longer school year.  Hmmmm…

If you are in the process of writing a belief / philosophy statement then read my post on Topics for Philosophy Statements, especially if you are have trouble writing one.

Do you have a writer’s block when it comes to writing your philosophy statement?  Many students teachers are in the process of developing or modifying their education philosophy statement.  It’s truly a process to organize your thoughts/beliefs and communicate that in 1-2 pages.  If you need some framework of what to write about, below are topics you can include in your philosophy statement:

  • your belief system and how your belief system affects the students, e.g. instruction, curriculum, classroom management.
  • description of how you will affect student learning
  • outline of teacher’s role & responsibilities
  • outline of students’ role & responsibilities
  • teaching and learning
  • teaching as a form of activism
  • curriculum (content)
  • relevancy of your teaching
  • addressing students’ needs
  • classroom environment
  • role of assessment
  • resourcefulness, e.g. being flexible, working within a system, using resources wisely
  • research-based pedagogy
  • general approach to student learning, e.g. hands-on, fun, inclusive

While devising your statement, remember to be true to yourself.  Avoid just writing what you think people want to hear, especially by overloading your philosophy statement with buzzwords.

Resource Links

Road to Teaching: A Guide to Teacher Training, Student Teaching, and Finding a Job

Student Teacher Topics

I remember first learning what a philosophy statement was in my teacher training program. The education professor explained that the philosophy statement was my guiding framework of ideals and beliefs regarding learning and teaching. Then, as a class we reviewed some sample statements. To be honest, I was a little intimidated. These example statements must have been written by student teacher gods. They were about 2 pages long each and nailed every education buzz word. Wow!

My advice for new pre-service teachers is not to freak out when your education professor gives you this assignment. Rather, use it as an opportunity to really reflect on what motivated you to go into teaching and what you want to accomplish, and how you are going to do it. State your beliefs, but be honest and avoid an overkill on the educational buzz words. Hiring principals and veteran teachers can see through this in a heart beat. Also, keep in mind that this is a process. More than likely you won’t knock out a finished philosophy statement in one sitting.

A great resource that I used in writing my own teacher philosophy statement and that I referenced in my book is a website from Oregon State University. I like this website because it provides simple suggestions in how to create a philosophy statement and it provides two, great (realistic) philosophy statement examples. I will add this link under the link category “Thinking of Teaching?” for future reference.

For additional guidance, relating to writing a philosophy statement and student teaching, in general, then check out Road to Teaching: A Guide to Teacher Training, Student Teaching, and Finding a Job.  You can purchase a print version or the e-book version.

E-book version – $8.99 (Lulu.com)

Print version – $13.99 (Amazon.com)