The dreaded teaching philosophy statement

As part of my graduate education, I find myself with the task of drafting a “statement of teaching philosophy” for review by one of my mentors. I have some teaching experience, which should make this easy, right? I taught comprehensive biochemistry recitation sections for several semesters. I worked as a supplemental instructor and tutor for even more semesters. I’ve mentored a couple of students. I should have enough background to draft something outstanding right?

I have one sentence.

I don’t want to write about how I am frustrated by poor time management of students or that time a student was begging me on their knees to grade late work. I don’t want to talk about that student who gave me a poor review because they didn’t like how I took points if they were not precisely correct. But how do I communicate that I am more concerned with personal development than mastery of material without sounding uninterested in my material?

I can write about the student who finally understood how oxygen binding is effected by carbon dioxide, but will a long winded anecdote take away from my overall message? How do I communicate the joy I felt when a student started thinking outside  the box without sounding like a broken, stereotypical record?

I’ve read outlines of this document and lots of internet examples. I feel like I’m getting closer to understanding the essence of the document. But I still have just one sentence. The deadline is coming…

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