Revising (or writing) your teaching philosophy statement

2 pencils on yellow, teaching portfolioI’m facilitating a session on the teaching philosophy statement (TPS) next month. The entire focus of the session is to look at samples of strong TPS and “analyze” them in order to better understand how to write a TPS. This session is being designed in response to requests by faculty members who are part of the Teaching Development Program and who must, as part of the program requirements, write or revise their TPS.

Below are some useful (I hope) first steps. The steps were written with the new(er) faculty member in mind and/or for the person who is new to an institution. My thinking behind these steps is “How do I support faculty members in moving past the anxiety they feel as they think about revising or writing their TPS?”.


Reacquaint yourself with your TPS.

  1. Find your TPS.
  • Highlight all the phrases or sentences where you describe your beliefs about teaching.
  • Highlight (in another colour) all the phrases or sentences where you give succinct examples of how you enact these beliefs.
  • Reflect on whether the teaching activities you provide as examples align with your stated beliefs. (If they don’t, revise)

Inquire into your department’s expectations and/or guidelines for teaching dossiers for your specific appointment type.

Find out:

  • Are you required to have a teaching philosophy statement and dossier?
  • If so, for what specific purposes (merit, promotion, tenure, other?)?
  • Who reviews your dossier and when does that happen?
  • What constitutes a strong TPS or dossier in your department?

Connect with a few colleagues within your department and ask if they would be willing to share their teaching philosophy (or entire dossier) with you.

Other questions to consider asking your colleague(s):

  • Would you be willing to provide feedback on my TPS?
  • How have you used your TPS and/or dossier in your career progression?


Your (the reader’s) feedback and comments welcome! How do you support the faculty members you work with to get started?

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

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