Tonight I have decided to share the original Personal Statement that I wrote during my final year of University when applying to be a primary school teacher. I think it says a lot about me and the teacher I wanted to become. The teacher I became. I think it gives a sense of the parent I might be too. It is quite long, I am glad that the Head who employed me took the time to read it!
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”
Lao-Tsze CIRCA 600BC
I began my teaching degree just after my 26th birthday having spent 8 years working in various administrative positions, including two years as a clerk for the Royal Signals Corps of the British Army (stationed in Germany), two years as a Consular Clerk in Düsseldorf, Germany and two years as a hotel receptionist in the English Lake District. I feel that these opportunities and experiences have provided me with vital life experience that is necessary to be a successful and creative teacher. I can also speak, read and write German and I am looking forward to being able to use my language skills in my role as a primary teacher. During my last teaching practice my Year 3 class was twinned with a class in Germany. I helped the children and their teacher write a letter to the class in German explaining what we had been doing in school that term. I was also asked by the Headteacher to teach the children a German song and some basic German phrases.
My degree is Primary Education and so I have experience of all primary subjects. I have enjoyed and achieved at all aspects of my course and I am looking forward to extending my learning in my first teaching post. As well as my college studies and teaching practices I also gain voluntary experience in schools as often as I can and attend local inset courses. I like to keep up to date with educational developments and find that what I am learning at college makes more sense when I am able to put it into practice regularly in school. I attend the inset courses to keep up to date with initiatives and I hope to give me a head start before my induction begins. It also allows me to meet teachers and other school staff, and I gain a lot from sharing practice and ideas. The courses that I have attended have given me a range of ideas, skills, knowledge and understanding that I am looking forward to sharing with colleagues and children.
I am enjoying my ‘teacher education’ and have gained a first in all assignments and exams during my second and third years. Working for these grades has involved a lot of detailed background reading and reflection on my teaching and classroom observations. I believe this provides me with a secure and in depth knowledge and understanding of what it means to be a primary school teacher and what I can offer the children that I teach.
I decided to specialise in English as it is a subject that I have always been passionate about. I love to read, I also write poetry and have been involved with amateur theatre since I was six years old. I enjoy all aspects of English and I believe that my own passion for the subject can inspire and motivate the children that I teach. I hope that through my enthusiasm, my knowledge of children’s literature and my ability to meet educational objectives through that literature I will inspire children to love English as I do. It is a strong belief of mine that children take something from every story that they read that moves them further on their journey to discovering who they are and what they want to be. As part of my subject specialism I am currently working on my dissertation which involves classroom-based research. I am exploring the use of picture books to develop children’s higher order reading skills at key stage two. At a later date I would like to carry out further research into using picture books as an assessment tool in key stage one, in particular using wordless books to assess children’s knowledge of narrative structure. Linked to picture books I also enjoy leading Philosophy for Children sessions and would like to complete my SAPERE training during my NQT year if I do not get the chance to complete it this year.
As a person and as a professional I am flexible and I can adapt to new ideas. Having moved house every three years all of my life I am open to new experiences and believe that I am confident at trying new things. I have a positive outlook on life and my varied life experiences have enabled me to understand the value of diversity. One of my underlying rules for my classroom will be that diversity should be valued and difference celebrated. It is important for children to share their similarities and explore and value differences. To enhance my knowledge and understanding of diversity in the primary classroom I have recently completed a voluntary placement with a multi-cultural school in Medway and also attended various courses that have dealt with issues such as inclusion and racism. From these different experiences I have learned many things that will influence my practice once I have a classroom of my own. For example, I believe that racism and other inclusion issues can and should be tackled through the curriculum. To implement this we can use resources such as Persona dolls and multicultural books and music. We can also show role models from all cultural groups in different curriculum areas, different activities and sports to enhance children’s knowledge and understanding of the diverse society in which they live.
I believe that it is important to use activities such as Circle Time and Philosophy for Children and role-play (drama) to build moral courage in children to respond to incidents that may happen in and out of the school environment. Building respect for others in children, and in adults, must be an ongoing concern as it takes time to move hearts as well as minds.
I have a real passion for ensuring that children are given an opportunity to learn through real and meaningful first hand experiences that are relevant to their interests and their needs. On all of my teaching placements I have built strong relationships with my pupils by taking time to talk to them, discover what interests them and is important to them and I have then used that information to help them in their learning by making lessons relevant and purposeful. For example, I was on placement with a Year 5/6 class when the last Harry Potter book was released. The buzz of excitement in my class over this new instalment was electric and so I channelled the children’s energy into a creative writing session. I came into school dressed as one of the characters from the books (Professor McGonagall), we looked at the film trailers from the films and we listened to the theme music as we recapped on Harry Potter’s life so far. I then gave the children a choice of writing tasks with the promise that we would share our work once it was complete dressed in wizard regalia and to the accompaniment of music from the film. Every single child in that class was on task for the whole of the extended session and they produced some wonderful pieces of writing. This is a lesson I am very proud of and I believe that it shows my ability to connect with my pupils and to use their interests to enable them to enjoy and achieve in the classroom. Many of the children chose to complete a prediction task, on the following Monday almost every child in that class arrived with the new Harry Potter book in their hands. I had stayed up most of the weekend reading the book to be sure that if any of the children had managed to finish it I would be able to discuss it with them. This is a lesson that will stay with me for a long time. My aim through my teaching is to ensure that every child leaves my classroom with a buzz of excitement about their learning, which stays with them on their journey home and sticks in their memory. With this lesson that was achieved.
It is my belief that life is a learning journey. I think that it is important for teachers and pupils to be co-learners in and out of the classroom and I believe that this leads to a mutual respect between adults and children. I also feel that through children seeing that their teachers are still learning and can make mistakes, it means the children will be more willing to make mistakes of their own. It is important in the primary classroom for children to feel confident to participate even if they are not always getting things right. Children learn most when they are motivated and when they are in an environment where they feel it is safe to fail. My own classroom ethos is reflected in the words of Samuel Smiles, “He who has never made a mistake never made a discovery.’
As a teacher it is important to make the most of all available resources including human ones. During my recent teaching practice I planned and taught a topic about ‘Habitats.’ One of the areas we focused on was the rainforest. To enhance the children’s understanding I invited a guest speaker into the classroom, who had recently visited the Australian rainforest, to share her experiences with my Year 3 class. The children and I enjoyed and learned from her talk, and from the pictures and artefacts that she brought with her for the children to explore.
One of my main interests and strengths lies in physical education. I have qualified to coach netball, tag rugby and tennis and this term I will be taking an extra PE module that will cover athletics and gymnastics. I also enjoy teaching dance and movement, which I like to combine with my passion for singing and drama. I find that my drama experience helps me in the classroom, with my confidence, using my voice and developing creative activities. Once fully employed with a school I would like to be fully involved with organising and directing school drama productions. I use drama in my lessons as a means of teaching, learning and assessment. I enjoy using drama games and also using role-play to explore different scenarios. With the current emphasis on developing children’s speaking and listening skills I find that drama can be an innovative way of developing these abilities, across the curriculum, with children of all ages. I also strongly believe that role-play areas can be used effectively to enhance children’s language skills in all classrooms right up to year six. This can be linked to a particular text or topic and can be made for the children or with the children. If the children are involved in designing and setting up the area then this in itself can develop children’s ability to communicate with others and use their language skills to work together as a team.
Outside of the classroom my drama experience has helped me with presenting assemblies. I enjoy taking assemblies and have been fortunate to gain valuable experience of planning and presenting assemblies in a range of schools for a range of age groups and purposes.
Outside of the classroom I believe in the value of extra-curricular activities and would like to offer my support to school initiatives that offer children opportunities outside of their lessons. My ideas for extra-curricular activities include a Problem Solving Club, Drama group, Philosophy club, Reading group and Conversational German. I would also love to assist with or coach a netball team. I also believe in the values of Outdoor Activities and parachute games as team building ideas. These kinds of activities can be used as a foundation for forming a socialisation group, which brings together children who find collaboration difficult and builds up their skills through games and group activities.
To date I have had experience working with all year groups throughout the foundation stage, key stage one and key stage two, though my main placements have been in a Year 5/6 class and in a Year 3 class. My final eight-week block will be with a reception and key stage one class. I believe that this final teaching practice will develop my ability to differentiate as I have 3-year groups in one class and it will also consolidate my knowledge of the Foundation stage, which is essential for all primary teachers. During my teaching experiences I have planned and taught all core and foundation subjects and feel that I am a confident and detailed planner and create exciting and innovative lessons that enable all children to achieve and enjoy. I believe my strengths to be in literacy and in RE. RE is an area that I particularly enjoy and that I would like to develop further during my teaching career. During my first year block placement I planned and taught a five-week project on Islam for a mixed year 5/6 class. The project was a real success in terms of teaching and learning. We combined AT1 and AT2 through a range of activities including looking at special books, making our own five pillars in relation to our own lives and considering what qualities make a person a good leader when learning the story of Muhammad. A range of methodology was used including drama, art, artefacts and a range of ICT resources. I enjoy using ICT in all my lessons. I have experience of working with interactive whiteboards and have completed successful cross-curricular projects using Intel Blue Movie Makers. I also use ICT for my planning and my personal and professional development.
Within my planning and teaching I incorporate multi-sensory activities that enable all children to access the lessons. For example, in numeracy I always endeavour to include visual aids and resources, practical activities, such as human number sentences, and auditory activities, such as using stories, songs and rhymes. With children of all ages I find that concentration and achievement is improved if the day is broken up with Brain Gym activities and if certain activities are accompanied by music, such as morning arrival, art work, some writing and when children are tidying up at the end of a lesson. When tidying up I like to use the same song so that the children become familiar with the music and know how long they have to complete their task. As children and as teachers we spend much of our time in our classroom and I believe that it needs to be a fun place to be, a place we are looking forward to going to when we wake up in the morning. Classrooms are fun when the learning is meaningful, when the ethos is positive and when you know that you are valued and that the contributions that you make, as adult or child, can make a difference.
I aim to ensure that teaching and learning in my classroom goes above and beyond the expectations of the national curriculum. I believe that the National Curriculum offers a starting point for teachers but it should be taken for what it is, a statutory minimum. As teachers we must use our own knowledge, understanding and experiences, and all available resources, to go above and beyond this foundation.
I am a strong advocate of enabling children to become independent learners and thinkers. I have recently completed a small-scale research project into the importance of developing thinking skills in key stage one mathematics. I have learned a lot from the assignment and it has encouraged me to learn more about thinking skills and strategies to enhance these across the curriculum and beyond it. I also believe in providing children with the skills and tools to think creatively and to take responsibility for their own learning. There is nothing more rewarding than the look on a child’s face when they know that they have achieved something, big or small. I believe that all achievements should be recognised and celebrated.
I know that the profession I have chosen is demanding and that it is essential that I never lose sight of the importance of my role and the responsibility that I have been given. It is a tremendous privilege to teach. It is challenging, rewarding, ever changing and extremely influential.
I am a hardworking and enthusiastic teacher who is consistently seeking to improve my own performance and I take responsibility for my own professional development. I do this by taking advantage of all opportunities made available to me and using my initiative to create further opportunities that will help to develop my knowledge and understanding. I am always seeking feedback about my performance at college and in the classroom and I always reflect and respond to advice and feedback given.
I am now looking for a school and community where I can take the first step on my journey of a thousand miles. I hoe to find the right place where I can feel that I belong and where I can make a real contribution to the teaching team and also to the children that I teach. And as I take my first step on the journey of my teaching career I will remember something we were told in our very first college lecture. Neil Simco reminded us that how we are with children will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Each moment that we spend with our children is so important because they can never have that moment again. Everything that I do as a teacher means so much to each and every child that I teach. I know that these children may take something of what I have said, what I have taught them and use it someday, in a way that will truly make a difference to them in their lives. That is why I want to be a teacher.
- Me in my classroom 2007
I do not just see two sisters bonding I see the space where you should…
- Bloggers Year Book
Today I have been reading about a Bloggers Year Book to be collated by Tara…
There follow four real personal statements from PGCE (teacher training applications). These are real examples, but of course personal details have been altered. They will give you ideas of how to write your own, and might be useful examples for any job or postgraduate study application where a personal statement is required.
The personal statement of your teaching application is by far the most important part of it. You have 47 lines to answer the following question:
Many courses don't interview candidates who don't have recent experience of working with childrenof the relevant age in a state school (although you might get away without this in a shortage subject). For primary, you'll need at least a month's experience. It shows evidence of commitment to teaching.
If you've arranged teaching experience, but haven't yet done it, mention this in your statement, saying what you will be doing. Christ Church University said that students should be aware that only having teaching experience abroad is not sufficient: they need to have had experience in a British school.
Although your classroom experience will probably be the most important part of your statement, evidence of ability to relate to young people in other ways will add strong supporting evidence . What else have you done to show you enjoy working with young people or children? Sports coaching, Sunday school teaching or helping in youth club will all demonstrate a real interest in young people and helping them learn
The work experience statement can contain up to 20 lines, with a maximum of 80 characters per line. You can list where you have worked (paid and unpaid), dates, job titles, employers and responsibilities.
Keep the work experience section factual and use the personal statement to amplify, reflect and interpret how this work experience is relevant to teaching. For example if you have worked in a shop you could mention that you had to work in a busy team under pressure, deal tactfully with customer complaints and adapt quickly to changing situations.
In the section of the application form where students have to enter the percentage of time taken up by each module it states that students should round up or round down rather than having decimal points. However, it also said that the total should add up to 100%, which won't happen if a student has rounded up/down. One student was worried that either way she was not going to be following one of the instructions.
It would be OK to round each module percentage either up or down so that it makes 100% - the module percentages don't have to be exactly accurate!
From Christ Church University's point of view they said that they don't mind if the percentages don't add up to 100.
Who should be your principal referee?
If you are at university or finished your studies in the last five years, your principal referee should ideally be a tutor (or lecturer) who can comment on your academic achievements and your personal qualities. If you cannot obtain a reference from a university or college tutor, your principal referee should be a responsible person who knows you well enough to write with authority about you, for example, an employer or a training officer. Your referee should be able to comment in detail about your suitability for your chosen PGCE courses and any training or study you have done recently.
If you graduated more than 5 years ago, you may not need to supply an academic referee.
Who should be your second referee?
Your second referee must be a responsible person who knows you, and who can provide a character reference for you and comment on your suitability for teaching (ideally a headmaster or teacher who has supervised your work experience in a school). You do not need to ask your second referee to provide a reference on your application. Training providers will contact your second referee directly if they want a second reference.
Once you have qualified teacher status, you are qualified as a teacher, not as a subject specialist, so you may also be able to teach lessons to younger pupils in a subject you studied at A Level or as a subsidiary subject in your degree. This flexibility could increase your employability when applying for jobs.
How to answer questions on the Teach First application form
- Strong enthusiasm for Teach First and a commitment to their vision
- Make links to the programme and how it will allow/enable you to make an impact in the classroom
- We are looking for an understanding of the ambassador movement and how you will have an impact beyond your 2 years, no matter what you do.
Humility, Respect & Empathy
- Clearly detail the example of working with a group of people different from yourself. How were they different?
- Exactly HOW did you work with them?
- How did you adapt yourself in that situation?
- How did you develop in that situation?
Here you are asked to describe a challenge you have faced.
- Be very specific about the challenge itself. We are looking for your ability to weigh up the pros and cons of a situation.
- What measures did you take to overcome these obstacles? Use I not We…we want to know what you did, not any one else.
- What were the results?
- We are looking for a positive approach.
Here you are asked to describe a position of responsibility you had, the skills you developed and thirdly how these will help you when a Teach First Teacher
- Be very specific about the responsibility you held. This could be personal responsibility or responsibility for others.
- The questions are very specific be sure that you are answering the questions correctly.
- Be very specific around the role and the tasks you personally undertook.
- How will these relate to the role of a Teach First Teacher?
- Don’t be afraid to tell us your achievements.
- Show the use of your initiative.
- What positive results came from these leadership skills?
EXAMPLE PERSONAL STATEMENTS
You should not use any of the following content as part of your own personal statement as you would not be reflecting your own experience and ideas. This would be seen as plagiarism and would lead to rejection by the institutions you are applying to. GTTR uses the UCAS Similarity Detection Service to ensure that each personal statement received is entirely the candidate’s own work.
APPLICATION BY PSYCHOLOGY STUDENT FOR PRIMARY PGCE
"Describe briefly your reasons for wanting to teach giving the relevance of your previous education and experience, including teaching, visits to schools and work with other young people"
Studying Psychology has given me a broad knowledge about child development, the development of language and mental processes and the emotional development of a child. This general understanding is important for teaching.
Studying biology, statistics and computing, writing many essays in English at university in addition to my A-levels made me acquire skills and knowledge which are important for teaching the national curriculum.
In the psychology courses I have followed I have always had a particular interest when it was of relevance to children. This drew me into considering teaching. But my interest started much earlier and was increased by experience.
After my A-levels, I really enjoyed working as an English assistant at an international summer school. Although it was tiring at times, being with the children from breakfast to bed time showed me other aspects of their lives. I found it also very rewarding seeing the progress the children had made in English, and the openness they had acquired to other cultures.
Working as a special needs assistant in an ordinary primary international school was equally rewarding. It was quite demanding as I gradually acquired the responsibility of a group of children, but I also discovered that motivation was an important factor. I used a lot of imagination to maximise motivation, using original games, so that although we were working it would appear more like fun. My various experiences have made me positive about teaching, together with my education they are adequate support for a PGCE in primary teaching.
APPLICATION FOR SECONDARY ENGLISH
"Describe briefly your reasons for wanting to teach giving the relevance of your previous education and experience, including teaching, visits to schools and work with other young people"
I am applying to do teacher training as I feel that my experiences of assistant teaching have been both personally satisfying and beneficial to the children I worked with. I have enjoyed three periods of teaching. My first opportunity to teach was provided by the Community Service Scheme at Southwark School, which was one of the necessary requirements for the Gold Certificate I as awarded. The first position I was given as an assistant was at Hendon Junior School. I enjoyed my weekly sessions there and was interested in the teachers technique of teaching young children, however I felt I would have preferred to have taught the subjects in more depth.
I had the opportunity at my second position at Fairgrove Junior School, to instruct my own group of pupils when I taught recorder lessons in the afternoon breaks. I was allowed to devise my own teaching methods and I received great satisfaction when the children showed understanding and progress.
My third experience was provided by Barnstaple College when I worked as an assistant teacher in music lessons at Key Lane Secondary School. Although I applied to teach English I enjoyed the opportunity to teach older children as the lessons were more tightly structured so that a better understanding could be attained.
I am now certain that it is the education of the eleven plus age group that I would like to specialise in as at this level I would be able to teach English or Literature to the depth at which it becomes the most interesting and enlightening. I would hope to give my students a sense of the background and history from which the literature was produced and lead them to an understanding and appreciation of the English language.
APPLICATION FOR SECONDARY ENGLISH AND DRAMA
"Describe briefly your reasons for wanting to teach giving the relevance of your previous education and experience, including teaching, visits to schools and work with other young people"
I was inspired to teach by my own experiences at school; in particular by my Maths and Drama teachers. Above all they treated me as an individual, encouraging me to achieve my personal best. In Drama our teachers enthusiasm and commitment motivated us to produce A grade presentations. In Maths, a subject that I did not enjoy initially, my tutor used his sense of humour to teach us tricks and mnemonics to make learning interesting. Both were approachable and friendly and their honesty encouraged a sense of openness in the classroom.
I believe I would thrive as a teacher because of my own enthusiasm for and dedication to my subjects; coupled with my ability to relate to people in the 11-16 age group. I have tried to gain as much teaching experience as possible, beginning whilst in Y12 by attending Y9 and 10 English lessons as a classroom assistant. My positions as house and camp prefect enabled me to get to know the younger students outside the classroom. A trip to Kenya to assist in an orphanage and school allowed me to use these skills to encourage the Kenyan children to love communication and learning.
As teacher of English and Drama in the Edenfield Student Teaching Programme, I was able to teach children both practical and emotional expression. Edenfield is a summer programme consisting of classroom teaching and extra curricular activities, including sports and arts. It is aimed at non-English speaking students aged 11-14. The intensive nature of the course encourages meaningful relationships to develop and all the teachers were actively involved in personal and pastoral care. Conveying my own enthusiasm for my subjects helped the students develop more confidence and a better understanding of spoken and written English. I sought especially to find new ways of presenting familiar ideas, to ensure that my class gained as much as they could from the summer school. The positions of responsibility I held at Edenfield also included Head of the Drama faculty and radio media course and group leader. In these demanding roles I participated in planning the overall structure of the whole course, in addition to preparing lesson plans for my own classes. I have also worked with much younger children in summer courses at respected international pre-schools.
During my time at university, class discussion and open forum have proved useful when preparing my own written work and analysing that of others. I appreciated studying a wide range of texts, analysing period and context. I have also maintained a keen interest in extra curricular activities; including being an active member of the Childrens Theatre Company and attending Archbishops school weekly, for one term, to assist in their A-level drama classes. I learned a great deal from the classes and as a teacher I hope to continue discovering and learning along with my students.
SUCCESSFUL APPLICATION BY FOR PGCE ART & DESIGN 14-19
Whilst studying Dress Manufacture and Fashion Design at London College of Fashion, I was greatly inspired by one of my Tutors and her enthusiasm for teaching, passing her knowledge and experiences on to me. Her encouragement and support gave me confidence in my abilities and the desire for success. Having gained life experience, I now want to share my knowledge and experiences with the young people of today and help them prepare the path for their future.
The 14-19 age group is one of mixed hormones! Art is a way for young people to express themselves, to release their angsts, any inhibitions, problems and restrictions. Art encourages young people to look at the world from different viewpoints, to challenge perceptions, to be creative in thought and processes and can ultimately enable them to interact and cope better with their everyday experiences in life.
I believe everybody has artistic flair and would encourage all to explore their creativity with confidence and self belief. My own artistic ability, inventiveness and stamina enables me to contribute new ideas and to develop them through an understanding of the design and creative processes and the power of observation. In addition to this, through my own art training and life experiences, I am sensitive to the world around me and accomplished in working in a variety of medias and techniques. Having to accept both advice and criticism of my work, I am aware of what a difficult skill this is to develop but also how important this skill is in life. In the working world, job appraisal is now a routine event involving self evaluation, reflection and critical assessment of performance. This cycle is well established and developed in students through the study of Art & Design.
I am continuously curious and open minded, hardworking, enthusiastic, able to work with others, and organise my time effectively. I believe that teaching makes a lasting contribution to a young person and it is important for them to acquire both knowledge and skills. With my responsive thinking, patience and sensitivity, strong self motivation and enthusiasm I want to pass on all that I have learnt to others and I believe this age group to be the one that I want to inspire and encourage. This is my motivation for pursuing a career in teaching and I feel that I have a lot to offer young people.
SUCCESSFUL APPLICATION BY SPORTS SCIENCE STUDENT FOR PHYSICAL EDUCATION PGCE
My motivation for teaching comes from personal experience of wanting to make a difference. I have recently completed a placement at Grange Park which is a specialist autism school which I enjoyed very much. I saw at firsthand how the teachers improve the quality of life for the individuals studying there and how much the children benefit. I would love to acquire that characteristic and feel that during my placement, I have picked up some of the tools to begin.
For example, I have learnt to communicate with individuals who have different levels of communicational needs. I have learnt to be patient, to speak and explain clearly what I am expecting the children to do and to check their understanding. This has improved my clarity, an important skill for a teacher what ever and who ever you are teaching. I have observed, and used myself, a range of motivational tools such as targets and reinforcement and how to encourage pupils who suffer with ASD. This has extended the leadership skills which I first developed in Year 13 when I completed the CSLA course. I feel that support and encouragement are key to participation in and enjoyment of PE lessons which are fundamental to improved health and fitness. In addition, PE obviously plays a role in supporting the Government initiatives for healthy eating and cutting obesity in children. Above all, though, it should be fun and all children should be encouraged to be active and enjoy sport.
At Grange Park, I have been actively involved in teaching sessions and have used a lot of one on one coaching. I have also taught pupils how to coach others which has been a rewarding experience. Persuading and negotiating with young people can be difficult but with individuals who suffer with ASD, it is even more challenging. My problem solving skills have also improved! My experience has led me to look further into the education and lifestyle of children with special needs and I have used this in-depth research to enhance my understanding and experience at Grange Park. Time management, for example, is a key aspect of teaching at Grange Park because people who have ASD have no concept of time. Times are adhered to rigidly in order to provide routine for the pupils This did lead to a pressured working environment and provided experience of working under pressure as it was essential to provide all relevant teaching points in a small amount of time.
It will be interesting to compare this style of teaching with teaching in mainstream. I have some experience of teaching small groups outside of school both through activities on my course, the CSLA award and I also teach and compete with a local majorette troupe which annually competes at the National Championships.
My paid work is as a fitness and aerobics instructor in a leisure centre so I have a keen interest in health and fitness. To keep fit and active personally, I referee men’s football locally at the moment but intend to push on to County level when I finish my degree and have time to pursue my accreditation.
I am looking forward to gaining my degree and starting on my journey to become a P.E teacher. It is a career which has always interested me since my personal involvement as a pupil at school. Now, through my placement, I have developed a passion for teaching and instructing which has led me to apply for this course. I feel it will be a career that will be immensely rewarding and can offer me job satisfaction.
SUCCESSFUL APPLICATION BY SPORTS SCIENCE STUDENT FOR PGCE SECONDARY PE Specialising in Dance)
I was inspired to become a teacher during my second year at university through the module, Health and Exercise Promotion. Within this module I had to organise an event and I chose to organise an event for children, including a practice session before my assessed event took place. By doing this, it made me more confident and competent in what I was going to do with the children within the event. It helped to build my skills in behaviour management which helped me to control the children. Having met them, they knew who I was and what I was trying to do, and they had more respect for me throughout the event. As I had gained respect from the children, I was then able to communicate with them on a different level. I was able to speak to them with firmness, but also to explain to them clearly in language they could understand. They weren’t confused about what was going on, which meant they enjoyed the event more. For example, one child never took part in his physical education sessions at school but I managed to get him joining in the assessed event. I was also able to communicate effectively with the teacher of the group as I could talk to him in a professional manner which helped me to gain his trust when looking after his pupils.
Also whilst at college we held a sports day for all the school children within the local area. It was devised by us, the students, and each student had responsibility for running their own selected sport within the day. The event included children attending special needs schools, which meant that I was able to develop my experience in working with special needs children.
My own preferred sport is Dance and I have learnt how to discipline myself within this sport and other aspects of my life. It has helped to build up my confidence and develop me as a person. At the age of 17, I helped the dance teachers within the classes, either taking children to one side and teaching them one to one, or teaching small groups. By doing this it gave me limited teaching experience. It also helped me to adapt to the different ways in which you can teach and talk to children of different ages. By being able to talk to a variety of children, it meant that I had started to develop my communication skills with the pupils, teachers and parents, and being able to adapt to each type of person.
Through this experience and through being a lifeguard, I have learnt the need to be very patient with some children. As a life guard, I had to ensure good communication between the children, staff, managers and other members of the public. Making sure that things were carried out as they needed to be, made me more assertive and firm with people and made me aware of their health and safety in a sports setting. However, it was important to come across in the right manner and tone, without being rude or aggressive. In addition, my awareness of risk, reaction time and capabilities improved with consistently watching the pools and I needed to concentrate fully on my job despite the distractions.
Whilst being at university I am working as a personal trainer. The gym has given me greater responsibility and I have continued to maintain my life guarding qualification. I am trusted to open and close the gym and am responsible in the work place for each person that comes in for a gym induction. I work either in groups or on a one to one basis but I focus on motivation, encouragement and maintaining their training programmes. I enjoy the motivational and encouraging role and I feel this links to the work of the school teacher as they motivate their pupils.
In my current year at university, I am going to be taking a Sports Industry module in which I will be going into a local school to help them with undertaking independent research, developing the ability to contextualise, record and reflectively evaluate sports related activities within the school It will also include developing other aspects within the school, including the business side, and also developing my teaching/coaching skills. This may be within the classroom, on the sports field, in after school clubs and generally helping to conduct the sports that they are undertaking at the school.
You can see my enthusiasm for working with children and young people and the range of skills I have already developed. I know that the PGCE course will be intensive but I look forward to the challenge and moving into a career which I know I will love.
APPLICATIONS BY MATURE STUDENTS
SUCCESSFUL APPLICATION BY MATURE PSYCHOLOGY STUDENT FOR PRIMARY PGCE
Over a 3-4 year period I have worked as a parent-helper in two local primary schools. I have taken part in teaching within areas of the National Curriculum e.g. reading and group maths work, but I have also helped out on sports days, harvest festivals, school outings and during swimming lessons. Despite finding some of these experiences challenging, I have also found them extremely rewarding particularly when I have been able to help a child overcome a learning barrier. I would also like to teach because doing so would give me the flexibility of being able to spend time during the school holidays with my own children while they are still young.
I believe that I would be able to make a valuable contribution to school life as a teacher. If I were given the opportunity I would be keen to participate in ways that would allow me to utilise some of my abilities e.g. piano playing. I would like to have the opportunity to apply my creative skills towards thinking up innovative ways of combining different areas of the National Curriculum within a project. Although the degree that I am taking, Psychology, is not a National Curriculum subject it is heavily based upon scientific analysis. Statistics/maths, information technology and child development are also core components of this degree. I also elected to take a non-compulsory module in human biology in the foundation year of my course because I wanted to have a good grounding in this before confronting it in core modules.
I feel that the study of psychology is very relevant to teaching, for example, I have learnt that information is better committed to memory (particularly in young children) when visual and tactile aides are used, particularly if used in novel ways. During my course I have learnt that information is grasped best when it is presented in a supportive and encouraging environment and introduced in manageable stages. I also recognise that it is not only the academic development of children that is important within the school system, but also their interpersonal relations.
Since returning to full-time education I have had to develop organisational skills in order to juggle studying with the responsibilities of having a family and home. I also travel a fair distance to University so I have had to be determined and hard working. I am sure that the experiences that I have gained with children and during my degree would make me a good teacher and justify my gaining a place on a PGCE course.
SUCCESSFUL APPLICATION BY MATURE STUDENT FOR SECONDARY CITIZENSHIP PGCE
I am inspired to teach because of the freedom to be creative in the work place and the potential for spontaneity. In addition, I am motivated by my own experience following three decades of professional work and some time spent as a voluntary youth worker mentoring young people with behavioural disorders to promote a positive attitude. This, together with my academic background, has fully equipped me to teach. I graduated overseas in Accounting, Biblical Studies, and Business Administration and recently completed MA International Relations (UK)
From the moment I began observing young people with learning and behavioural difficulties, and their unwillingness to study, I was confronted by the issues which many young people experience today. We live in an information age where traditional teaching methods can be unsuccessful. The click and instant message of a PC no longer demands of growing youths the reality of patience and persistence to get the result. I believe I have the drive and enthusiasm as a teacher to make learning fun and to foster a discovering of self potential because of my subject knowledge, experience and wide background as well as the ability to relate to people in the 11 – 18 age group. I have gained teaching experience through visiting schools, mentoring and counselling vulnerable young people in a one to one and team situation. Having myself been in the position of a school prefect in a school of 2500 students, I have gained insight into teaching and helping young people including those with learning difficulties and behaviour management issues. Having obtained a Diploma in Pastoral Counselling, I worked as a pastoral counsellor and have given practical assistance to children displaying behavioural disorders. I have strong relationships with my colleagues and students as a volunteer youth worker with Fairbridge in Kent. I have been able to motivate and inspire young people with concentration difficulties as well as give practical advice.
My varied educational and professional background offers me a unique platform to teach and relate creatively with young people aged 11 years plus. I have taught this age group in a Sunday School setting, visited a school to observe departments and have arranged for a work shadowing placement in my son’s school. My experience together with my qualifications in Accounting, Biblical Studies, Business Administration and International Relations have given me a greater awareness of responsibility. I am aware of the challenges ahead working in a dynamic teaching environment but perseverance, which is currently constrained by our fast changing age, will be harnessed with my determination to teach with interest and open mindedness to make learning fun, enjoyable and a journey of discovery along with my students.
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