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I'm going to apply for an assistant professor position in a European university's campus in China. The problem is that I do not have any formal, class-based teaching experience while the job specification says that I need to teach four courses. The university also asks for a teaching statement. What shall I put in that statement?

Please advise and thanks in advance.

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    Suppose you're offered the position, how are you going to teach the class? – scaaahu Oct 7 '16 at 4:49
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    Your question makes me wonder why you think you are ready to take on an assistant professor position, when you have no experience of a large part of the role. – Jessica B Oct 7 '16 at 6:42
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    @JessicaB: I believe it is not unusual in some fields/cultures for assistant professors to be hired without previous teaching experience. – Nate Eldredge Oct 7 '16 at 15:21
  • @NateEldredge Indeed, this was essentially what happened to me. (Strictly speaking, I did teach a 30 hour class to 3 people during the last year of my PhD, but I think for practical application purposes that didn't really count.) – Yemon Choi Oct 8 '16 at 2:00
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I do not have any formal, class-based teaching experience

The way you wrote this suggests that perhaps you have some informal teaching or tutoring experience. If so, you can write about that.

You have years of experience observing teachers at work. Think about what made the good ones effective, and what the bad ones did wrong. You can use this analysis to create your draft teaching philosophy.


If you do not get this particular job, and you decide to continue applying for teaching jobs, then I suggest you get some teaching and tutoring experience under your belt as soon as possible. It's okay to volunteer -- as long as you treat your volunteer teaching as seriously as you would treat a paid teaching or tutoring job.

  • It does not directly answers the question posed, namely: what shall s/he put now on such a teaching statement given that there is no (formal) teaching experience. I agree with the comments above: in such case describe your philosophy of teaching and how you want to achieve the learning goals, while being honest that you do not have actually tested this yet. – PsySp Jun 5 at 8:15
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Most universities require a "teaching statement containing your teaching philosophy". Just because you have not taught does not mean that you do not have a teaching philosophy.

That being said, I see two serious problems with your question.

  1. They will most likely ask for a teaching reference letter, and you do not have that since you have never taught. You can try to get a letter by offering to teach one of your colleagues' classes (with your colleague in attendance). He/she will observe your teaching, and they can write a letter based on this.

  2. I find it shocking that the only reason you seem to want to apply to this position is because "it is good in terms of remuneration" (a statement that has since been deleted from your question). As a researcher myself I do not teach a whole lot, but if you are already of the mindset that you are teaching because of the money, I think that this attitude will come through at some place or another, and I am not so sure that this job is right for you (or that you are right for this job).

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    I don’t think it’s our place to judge people’s life choices. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to get proper compensation for doing your job. – Spark Jun 5 at 6:50
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    -1 because of the judgmental tone on bullet 2. – PsySp Jun 5 at 8:13

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