Yale Center for Teaching and Learning

Teaching Statements

The goal of your teaching statement is to let future employers know your capabilities as an instructor, your fit with their institution, your value as a colleague, and your overall qualifications. Here are a few things to keep in mind while preparing your statement.

Does your teaching statement…

  1. Demonstrate what gets you excited about teaching?
  2. Explain how do you accomplish your goals?
  3. Give examples of what do you do in the classroom?
  4. Answer these two questions for your future interviewers:
    1. “What is it like to be in class with this person?”
    2. “What do students who take a class with this person get out of it?”
  5. Show “this is what I do, and this is the result”?
  6. Provide examples of the following sort: “I notice that students often have problems with [insert issue here], and this is what I do to help them understand the concept”?
  7. Present itself as a teaching statement (about you, as a classroom teacher, i.e., concrete and explicit) rather than as a statement of teaching philosophy (about the nature of knowledge or the discipline of teaching, i.e., abstract and implicit)?


What is a sample structure for a teaching statement?

  1. An introductory paragraph that presents you as an enthusiastic, skilled, and dedicated teacher. Grab your reader’s attention right away.
  2. Three “narratives” (paragraphs), each one of which presents
    1. an issue you came across during your teaching (for example, students didn’t have the proper math background for your engineering course; a primary source proved difficult for students to interpret; a student or students were dominating the classroom discussion, etc.)
    2. the strategy or activity you came up with to address that issue, giving enough specifics so that your readers feel that they are in the classroom with you
    3. the successful outcome, including wherever possible an objective assessment (did students’ grades go up on the next test or quiz and, if so, by how many points on average; did subsequent writing assignments demonstrate mastery of the primary source; did students report in their online course evaluations that this classroom discussion was the best part of your course?)
    4. Graduate students: consider including in the teaching materials section of your CCTP portfolio handouts, instructions or other materials that relate directly to the three “narratives” presented in your teaching statement
  3. A concluding paragraph that reinforces your opening paragraph and that explicitly mentions applying your teaching skills in your future department or unit and in your future career as a teacher. You may also wish to state the name of the university or other institution to which you are applying in your concluding statement, but this isn’t a must-do.

Consider reviewing sample teaching statements.


What should you include in your teaching statement?

  1. Have you opened the statement with goals and strategies for students and for yourself, and then moved on to how you do it (activities, techniques, etc. — even “style”)
    1. If you open the statement by saying “My teaching style is…,” can the paragraph order be revised to emphasize goals first and “style” as a technique to accomplish the goals?
  2. Can you provide there examples to back up and illustrate your “theory”?
    1. Do these examples mention what students were struggling with or the problem you were trying to address?
    2. Do those examples make explicit what you, as the teacher, were trying to achieve?
    3. Did you develop a pertinent activity and will you include it in your “handouts” section of your teaching portfolio?
      1. If so, at this point of your teaching statement, explicitly state that you have included a pertinent activity
  3. Have you referred to specific courses you taught?
  4. Have you mentioned specific outcomes of your activities or assignments, such as a problem students explored (sciences) or the title of a final paper (humanities)?
  5. If you mention that something in your teaching is “important,” have you elaborated on the “why”?
  6. Have you presented yourself as a teacher throughout, rather than as an aspiring teacher?

Need more inspiration? Check out this resource on crafting a stronger teaching statement.