Showcasing your experience
A good statement should highlight your strengths and how you can bring these to teaching. Think about what distinct qualities you can bring to the table that will make you an amazing teacher. Your personal statement should convey energy, enthusiasm and a passion for teaching.
As a general guide, it’s a good idea to cover key points such as:
- your reasons for wanting to teach – and, more specifically, why you’ll enjoy teaching your chosen subject and/or age group
- the qualities you have that will work well in the classroom – communication, organisation and creativity are all important skills
- how previous studies and any work experience relate to your chosen subject or age group – make sure you give examples of what you’ve learnt from your experience, and how it will have a positive effect on your teaching
- what you’ve learnt during any school experience placements and how this has influenced your application
- how you’ve benefited from any other experience that you may have of working with children or young people – for example as a classroom assistant, or running a youth group or sports club
The UCAS Teacher Training form also includes a separate section to provide details of your school and work experience. This section allows you to highlight the experience you’ve had in a school or work environment. You can include as many examples on the UCAS form as you like. This can include work placements and observations, as well as any paid and unpaid work.
Remember, your personal statement is the core of the application, so it is important to take the time and effort to research and prepare. The word count is tight: the space on the form is limited to 4,000 characters, split across a maximum of 47 lines, including spaces and line breaks so use it wisely.
Finally, you shouldn’t copy from someone else’s statement or from statements posted on the internet – UCAS screens all submissions and will know if the work you’ve presented is not your own.
Sample Education Personal Statement
I have a long-standing ambition to be a primary school teacher. I enjoyed my years at primary school, and also highly value the years that I have spent at secondary school, both with regards to the teaching I have received and the opportunities to take part in extracurricular activities that I have been given. At present, I study English Language and Literature, Geography and Psychology. I thoroughly enjoy all three subjects, even though each is very different from the other. In fact, part of the appeal of being a primary school teacher to me is that it provides an opportunity to be involved in teaching the whole spectrum of school subjects in innovative, mutually reinforcing ways, instead of being required to specialize in just one subject.
Taking on extra responsibilities at school has also helped me to realise that I would enjoy a career in education. Whilst studying for my GCSEs I was a peer educator to younger children at my school. In this role I prepared presentations on subjects such as smoking, drugs and alcohol awareness, and I also acted as a mentor to pupils who wanted to confidentially discuss any problems that they were having. I found this position to be highly rewarding. In my final year of GCSEs I was also a prefect. I particularly enjoyed the opportunities that this role gave me to become more involved in the running of the school, such as meetings between staff and prefects to discuss ways of improving life at the school. Valuing my educational experience so highly is certainly part of the reason that I would like to become a primary school teacher; I would be pleased to be able to give future generations an educational experience that was as enjoyable and rewarding as the one that I have received.
My understanding of the teaching profession has been increased through carrying out long-term work placements at two different primary schools. I have been volunteering at one local primary school since October 2010. I have really enjoyed working with the children, and have found it rewarding that, the better I get to know them and their individual needs and learning habits, the more I am able to connect with them and help them with their work. The long-term involvement with the school has given me a better understanding of important issues such as the long-term delivery of the curriculum and strategies for managing the classroom so that over time the children become increasingly effective learners. Since September 2011 I have also been gaining work placement at another local primary school. I will continue my placements at both schools until July 2012. The experience of witnessing daily life in a different school and with different pupils and teachers has given me an appreciation of the diverse backgrounds and needs of different children and the various approaches that can be taken by teachers to encourage learning and handle classroom problems. In both schools I have worked with small groups, classes of thirty pupils and on a one-to-one basis. Whatever the class size, however, I have found that I love helping the pupils with tasks, and find it extremely satisfying when a child understands something I have explained to them.
Observing experienced and dedicated teachers in the classroom has also made me realise that I still have much to learn about the profession, and I hope that studying Primary Education at university will equip me with the skills that will allow me to emulate their success. One of my key character traits is that when I set myself an objective, I am fully committed to preparing myself to fulfilling that objective to the best of my abilities. Accordingly, I want to gain a thorough grounding in all the theoretical and practical aspects of teaching and education so that I will be able to excel in a future career as a primary school teacher.
We hope this sample education personal statement has been helpful.