Monday, September 25, 2006

Teaching Philosophies and the Job Search

Oy vey. I'm preparing to enter the job market and I'm facing the prospect of having to write a statement of teaching philosophy. I find these statements to be the hardest things of all of the application materials to write. I've written some informal statements before, for use within the writing program at DU only. These were very brief--about a paragraph--and focused on my teaching of writing. Now, however, I'm faced with the prospect of writing a statement that is much longer, much more complex, and much more important.

The problem is that my "philosophy" of teaching is pretty intuitive. I am having a really hard time describing why and how I do the things I do on a daily basis in the classroom. I've looked at a variety of online guides for writing the statement of teaching philosophy and I've looked at a few sample statements--most of which were not written by English professors. So I wondered if anyone has any suggestions or indeed any comments about how these statements are used/have been used by hiring departments. My fear is that, as one article in The Chronicle of Higher Education suggested, these statements can hurt more than they can help.