In my early education, reading and writing were a challenge, at the age of nine I received a diagnosis of dyslexia bringing with it extra support from the school. This gave me a real determination to overcome my disability. It drove me to study hard, achieve high GCSE and A-level grades and go on to achieve a 2:1 in criminology at the University of England. Although this is not a national curriculum subject, working through and coping with my dyslexia at university helped me nurture my own love of learning. I was able to take more responsibility for my own learning, leading to a deeper understanding of how I and others learn. I developed the ability to work to a deadline under pressure both independently and in groups, something I feel is directly relevant to teaching. Other relevant skills I have gained are data analysis, essay writing, critical analysis and researching.
I began spending one day a week, then two days a week in a primary school which has strengthened my love of learning. I spent time in both Key Stage 1 and 2 classrooms and have so far completed 40 days in a school. I observed lessons such as English, maths, Spanish, science and art, listened to pupils read, and went on to work with small groups. I started to grasp lesson planning and discuss with teachers current educational issues such as the changing curriculum. I was able to observe how different teachers handle classroom and behaviour management, particularly picking up on the importance of maintaining an assertive yet sympathetic style. All of this shapes my classroom practice to become more effective, for example seeing someone moving up a reading band as a result of the extra time I gave to them. Recently I saw a child making good decisions with their behaviour as a result of the plans we made together. I am gaining experience currently with a year three class of 30 children, working with them one to one, in groups and leading the whole class. Learning to think on my feet numerous times a day is challenging but rewarding especially when I receive positive feedback on my lessons. Picking up on some of the skills learned at university I have been able to train a number of staff in the effective and confident use of ICT.
This summer I worked as a camp counsellor in America with a group of nine girls. I shared their cabin and was responsible for all their needs including their physical and emotional wellbeing. I needed many of the skills I had seen in the classroom to be an excellent counsellor and I was able to use my singing skills to set up a choir who performed to the rest of the camp. Resilience, good judgement, enthusiasm, energy, patience, creativity, responsibility, leadership, reliability and stamina were all essential. Looking back I can see my time at 'Camp Wonderful' grew my confidence, leadership and communication skills, which I look forward to bringing back to the classroom.
In my studies, classroom work and at camp I continue to see the rewards of inspiring and teaching primary school children. I chose to specialise in Key Stages 1 and 2 as I feel it is demanding but hugely rewarding to work with children at this vital formative period in their educational development.
Your personal statement is the heart of your application for work as a newly qualified teacher and should be re-written for each role. This is your opportunity to provide evidence of how you match the needs of the specific teaching job you are applying for, and earn yourself an invitation to the next stage, which is likely to be a selection day held at the school.
Writing tips for personal statements
See our example personal statement for primary teaching and personal statement for secondary teaching for further guidance.
When completing a personal statement for a teaching job you should usually observe the following guidelines:
- Do not exceed two sides of A4, unless otherwise instructed.
- Tailor your statement for each new application according to the nature of the school or LA and the advertised role.
- Emphasise your individual strengths in relation to the role.
- Consider using the government's Teachers' Standards to structure your statement, or follow the structure of the person specification.
- For a pool application, make sure you give a good overview of your skills and experience.
- It is essential that you give specific examples of what you have done to back up your claims.
What you must cover in your personal statement
Why you are applying for the role:
- Refer to any knowledge you have of the LA or the school, including any visits to the school and what you learnt from them.
- Mention any special circumstances, for example, your religious faith, which you think are relevant.
Details about your course:
- Give an overview of your training course, including the age range and subjects covered, and any special features.
- If you are a PGCE student, mention your first degree, your dissertation (if appropriate), any classroom-based research projects and relevant modules studied. Also mention if you have studied any masters modules.
Your teaching experience:
- What year groups you have taught.
- What subjects you have covered.
- Any use of assessment strategies or special features of the practices, for example, open-plan, multi-ethnic, team teaching.
Your classroom management strategies:
- Give examples of how you planned and delivered lessons and monitored and evaluated learning outcomes, including differentiation.
- Explain how you have managed classrooms and behaviour.
- Detail your experience of working with assistants or parents in your class.
Your visions and beliefs about primary/secondary education:
- What are your beliefs about learning and your visions for the future? You could touch on areas such as learning and teaching styles and strategies.
- Reflect on key policies relevant to the age range you want to teach.
Other related experience:
- This can include information about any previous work experience.
- Include training activities you have carried out and ways in which your subject knowledge has been developed.
Other related skills and interests:
- Give details of any particular competencies, experiences or leisure interests, which will help the school to know more about you as a person.
- Any involvement in working with children (running clubs, youth work and summer camps) is particularly useful to note.
Aim to end on a positive note. A conclusion which displays your enthusiasm in relation to the specific application and teaching in general will enhance your application, but avoid general statements and clichés.