Almost everybody applying for a tenure-track job has to write a teaching statement. But almost nobody knows how to do it.
Should you share a personal story from your time in the classroom? Wax rhapsodic over your philosophy of pedagogy? Provide a just-the-facts-ma'am rundown of how you'd lead a course? Will any of these approaches actually make your teaching statement stand out?
Over the years, Vitae and The Chronicle of Higher Education have posed these questions to a number of our writers — the kind of folks who have sat on dozens of hiring committees and pored through hundreds upon hundreds of these documents. Theirs is the advice you'll probably want to hear:
A teaching statement resembles a syllabus in that you should begin by thinking about the end. Picture a student walking out of the final exam of your course: In what way is that student different from the one who entered your classroom on the first day of the semester? What has the student learned over the course of the past three months?
That's from James Lang, a professor of English at Assumption College. There are many more insights — from James and others — here, in Vitae's first downloadable booklet: How to Write a Teaching Statement That Sings. It's a document that's designed to be shared, and you can download it free right here.