Teachers make several decisions in a day. Research has actually shown that teachers make more minute to minute decisions than surgeons on some days. How do we make all of these decisions? We develop a teaching philosophy. Your personal teaching philosophy will help you make decisions as an educator throughout your career.
What is a Teaching Philosophy?
A teaching philosophy is a statement that tells you what your personal beliefs are in terms of education. For example, some teachers believe firmly in project-based learning. While others might be more of a “lecture” teacher. How students learn, what they need to learn, what your classroom environment will be like and more all goes into what your teaching philosophy is.
Why is it Vital to Develop a Teaching Philosophy?
Having a teaching philosophy is what is going to shape what you do in your classroom. As you teach and as things change (including you) your teaching philosophy will change with it. However, it’s important to write down what your teaching philosophy is even when it changes.
How to Develop a Teaching Philosophy
When you first start teaching, you’re not going to have your teaching philosophy set in stone. It takes years to develop your personal teaching style and teaching philosophy. However, there are some questions you can ask yourself to develop your teaching philosophy.
Who’s Needs Are More Important?
When you start teaching, it’s going to be a delicate balance of student and teacher needs. You are all going to have needs, but there needs to be a balance. We often put pressure on ourselves to always do what is best for the students. However, you need to make sure your needs are being met as well. If they aren’t, then you aren’t going to be a very effective teacher.
What is your greatest teaching challenge?
When you develop a teaching philosophy, there are going to be things you want to consider. One of them should be the thing that challenges you the most. Your challenge could be anything included but not limited to: classroom management, a particular subject, reporting, working with colleagues, data collection, daily planning, finding resources, and more! There is a lot you have to do as a teacher. When you develop a teaching philosophy, it’s a good time to set a goal that will help you with whatever your challenge is. Throughout your teaching career your challenge will change.
Do you have a handle on the basics of teaching?
There are many different sides to teaching. Not only do you have the daily plans and grading, you also have to get a handle on student behaviors and expectations. These teaching basics are important to include when you develop a teaching philosophy
What makes you a unique teacher?
Everyone has something that makes them uniquely them in their daily life. This doesn’t change when you’re a teacher. For me, my music set me apart. I have a passion for music; it has always been important to me. I also love hockey and the outdoors. These things influence my teaching all the time; therefore, they are important when I develop a teaching philosophy.
What is the foundation of your beliefs?
When you are developing a teaching philosophy, you want to make sure you have a firm foundation. For me, I tried to narrow this down to one word: RESPECT. This was important to me because we have to respect each other. We also have to respect the classroom, including decorations and supplies, as well as the roles and objects we have in the classroom. By having a foundational belief, you can shape everything else around it.
Developing a teaching philosophy isn’t going to be easy, and it’s constantly going to be evolving because you’re going to change. It’s important to keep up with your teaching philosophy. However, it’s equally important to make sure your teaching philosophy is keeping up with you too.
If you are interested in figuring out your own teaching philosophy I have a short questionnaire with guiding questions to help you. And it’s free. Sign up below and it will go straight to your inbox.