I became interested in teaching after realising how much I had benefited from excellent and passionate teachers. They exuded a real sense of enthusiasm for learning which inspires me to pass on that passion.
My love for RE and sociology developed during my A-levels after discovering an aptitude for writing, analysis and researching. This drove me to study more, going on to gain a 2:1 in RE and sociology from the University of England. Studying at university developed my passion for social sciences and taught me a range of academic skills which I believe are fundamentally important to teach young people. This is demonstrated in my dissertation, which was awarded a first, looking at RE teaching in secondary schools, opening my eyes to how RE and sociology give students a greater understanding of society and its place in our diverse and changing world.
While volunteering as a teaching assistant I saw the skills needed to be a great teacher one of which is leadership. My own leadership skills have developed over the years, from attending a youth club to gradually going on to lead small groups in activities. This has given me the confidence to volunteer as a teaching assistant in a mainstream school during my degree. By my final year I was able to take responsibility for running activities in the classroom, balancing the needs of each child and managing behaviour issues. In working with potentially more vulnerable students such as SEN learners I saw the role played by support staff in maintaining control of the classroom, particularly with those who can be disruptive when under stimulated. I learned the importance of differentiating lesson plans to educate and engage students with special needs and the power of strategies such as a well thought out seating plan and friendly competitiveness in learners. I saw students develop within the classroom as a result of my determined support and these good working relationships are beginning to result in higher grades. I have liaised well across a number of departments to communicate information about students in an organised and diplomatic way.
To support my professional development, alongside my studies, I undertook work placements in two other schools. Volunteering in Key Stages 1 and 2 confirmed my desire to teach Key Stages 3 and 4. I began to develop stronger skills in communication, leadership, behaviour management and knowledge of the national curriculum. Doing a second placement in my final year while balancing deadlines and dissertation research developed my time management and organisation skills. I was exposed to a range of pedagogical models and teaching methods which is something I look forward to learning more about on a PGCE.
I enjoy reading and learning about contemporary ethics and society, considering how I can use this to benefit the students I teach. While in schools I have seen the challenges and rewards present in a school environment. Teachers need to be resilient particularly when working with students who find school difficult, do not want to engage and do not want to accept support. However I look forward to working in the education system and believe I could help and inspire students to develop their future aspirations.
What are personal statements?
Personal Statements are essays that you write for most college admissions and applications and scholarship applications. They may be short essays (200-500 words) or longer essays (900 words). Generally, essays should be typed, double spaced with a font no smaller than a 10. One page is usually equal to 250 words.
Why do I need one?
Most admissions applications and scholarship applications require a personal statement or answers to short essay or long essay questions. This is your best chance to tell readers about you. Use the personal statement for either college admissions or scholarship applications to highlight your personal experiences. Statements also give reviewers a chance to see your writing skills.
When will I write one?
Most applications are due between November and February of your senior year in high school.
What does a personal statement look like?
The suggested format is two pages, double spaced, typed and follows this structure:
When writing a personal statement, use standard formatting; it is more important to demonstrate that you can say what you need to say concisely than to be exhaustive.
How do I write one?
In your writing, make sure you are answering the question posed. You should support your main ideas with the best example or anecdote. Be sure to include only relevant details and use smooth transitions to tie your essay together. The process of writing a personal statement could be broken into steps:
Step One: READ application thoroughly and ANSWER the specific questions posed by each application. It is tempting to use the same statement for every application, but you may limit yourself this way. If a particular addmissions application asks a question about something that you do not address, you will lose points!
Step Two: Give yourself enough time to review and revise and especially to get someone else to review it for you. If you give an outside reader a very short window to read and give feedback you may not get the best results, or you may not get it back in time to use the feedback constructively.
Step Three: Review the rough draft yourself. Give the draft to a peer and an adult (teacher, counselor, parent) to review at the same time you are reviewing your draft even if it isn't your best work. Things to keep in mind when reviewing your draft:
Did I answer the question?
Check the writing tips against your writing
Step Four: Incorporate feedback from others; make corrections.
Step Five: Read it once more, if you have time, have someone else read it once more.
Step Six: Finalize the draft by incorporating the last revisions.
Step Seven: Make photocopies as well as keeping an electronic copy if possible. The last thing you want to do is start all over if your hard drive craches, you lose your disk or your application is lost in the mail.
What do I write about?
Some applications give very open ended questions. Here are some suggestions for organizing your thoughts into a coherent essay:
What are your goals? Why did you choose thest goals?
Why did you choose to apply to this college/for this scholarship?
- What are your values and philosophy about education? Why?
- Is there one or two accomplishment(s), either in school or outside of school that you are particularly proud of? What have you learned from these experiences?
- Do you have a time-management system? What is it?
- How do you schedule your time to include both academic and social activities?
- What difficulties or disadvantages have you faced in your life and how have you overcome them? What is one area in which you are weak and how have you or do you plan to overcome that weakness? (Keep this very brief.)
- Identify a leadership experience and talk about what the most important lessons of the position and experience.
What makes you unique?
- Speak from the heart. These personal statements are likely to be read by some administrator or adviser, not an academician or professor, so don't try to simply impress the reader with fancy verbiage or rhetoric.
- Get personal. Don't be afraid to tear at the heartstrings of your reader. Colleges nowadays are looking for people who both think and feel.
- Try to introduce new ideas in a comical way. A personal statement that makes people laugh is better than a personal statement that doesn't evoke any emotion.
- Check your work. Don't be happy with just the first draft, you should have learned better than that in high school. Find someone you feel comfortable and qualified letting revise your personal statement and give it to them.
- Colleges really do use and read these personal statements, so make sure to put some real effort into it.
Consult with your college counselor and/or English teacher if you are having trouble
- Make sure to use proper grammar. Nothing looks worse to an administrator than a potential student saying "Thank you for considering excepting me into your college."
- Be careful disclosing crimes you may have committed, you are not legally protected from self incrimination through these personal statements. Also, I doubt any college would want to hear about "the time you knocked off a Piggly Wiggly."
- Remember that if you are trying to be funny, that sarcasm doesn't read well so try to use outright humor instead
Click here for a personal statement sample.