It’s that time of year.
Yes, you know of what I speak, Gandalf. A great pit of an essay, bottomless, fathomless, wreathed in flame–the TEACHING STATEMENT. If you hate writing these things half as much as I do, can I get an “Amen!” Thank you.
Seriously, I know of no other part of the application process as fraught with frustration and futility as this simple item. On face it should be simple, right? I love teaching for Reasons A, B, and C, and I go about it in Fashions D, E, and F. In reality, one stares off into space, trying to articulate in text what seems so easy and natural in the classroom. But one emerges the better for it, hopefully, and with a better understanding of one’s own teaching. Hopefully…
There is help to be found, however. My wonderful girlfriend Megan unearthed a really great PDF from the University of Michigan on writing the Teaching Statement. Check it out if, like I was, you are in need of fresh ideas, cogently argued and simply presented. It has proven incredibly helpful to me in this latest permutation of that quagmire of prose.