Audience/setting: Students in introductory math and science courses.
Time: 2 minutes, 5 minutes prep
Synopsis: A teaching testimonial is a brief personal statement about why teaching matters to you as part of your introduction on the first day of class.
- One of the most powerful connections for students seeking a direction for a career is insight into what their professors, who are role models, are passionate about.
- Sharing a personal testimonial about why teaching is important to you can open the door to your students to consider a career in teaching.
Introduce yourself to your class. Many faculty like to give some personal and professional background, including their research focus and a synopsis of their life story. In doing so, provide a testimonial about your value of good teaching:
Experience from the University of Arkansas and West Virginia University shows that the most important factor in your personal testimony is expressing an authentic reason why teaching is important. Display your passion.
Below is a template that might help you craft your own message:
I am a researcher and a teacher. Both of these parts of my job are important to me, because I know how important good math/science teaching is to you and your learning.
How I teach you in my class is very important to me. A good math/science education can help you be more successful in college and in your future career.
Teaching is one of the best and most important parts of my day. It is one of the reasons I decided to become a member of the faculty here at [your institution].
Good to know
- Do not assume that your value of teaching is implied. No matter how much work you put into your teaching, students are not always going to see it or understand the importance it holds for you if you do not explicitly tell them.
- It is not necessary to have a personal connection to high school teaching; what is necessary is that you share why teaching your students is important to you.
- This is likely just the first step in a process in which you describe middle and high school teachers among many examples of STEM professionals.