Teaching philosophy

Teaching is fun. Unfortunately, I have not had the chance to teach since 2010 at the University of Oregon but I found an old paper I wrote for a teaching effectiveness seminar and I thought I would re-print it here. It has not been edited except for a spelling error.

Teaching philosophy

Diverse classes, different situations and changing environments require a differentiated teaching approach in each new teaching situation. Nonetheless, there are a few things that I like to bring with me to the classroom, no matter the subject, content or form of the class that I am teaching. In this short paper, I will try to define and describe my general teaching philosophy.

Motivation is a key element. There are different aspects to this. First, I think it is important to show one’s own motivation for the material. If the students sense that the teacher has a desire to teach the material, I believe this will have a positive effect on them. Second, motivating the material for the students themselves and giving them a sense of where they are going with the material is important.

I strive to be as open-minded as possible. For me, being open-minded covers a lot of important traits like being friendly towards students and open to input. But another important aspect of being open-minded is being able to admit one’s own mistakes and willing to change accordingly. Along the same lines, being sympathetic and understanding are also important traits for the open-minded teacher. Every student is a human being and it is important to remember and understand that we are all individuals with different personalities and issues to deal with.

From my previous experience, I have learned that the success of a particular class is directly proportional to the amount of preparation that I do before the class. Being well-prepared is almost self-explanatory but it still deserves to be mentioned here. Well-preparedness also entails being knowledgeable about the material that is being taught which is crucial to how well the students will
come to understand the material.

Overall, I think personality is the most important part of being a good teacher. Being well-prepared and knowledgeable should definitely not be neglected but the key words for my general teaching philosophy are motivation, open-mindedness and sympathy.