/ Please help improve my pgce personal statement!

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climbercool - on 05 Dec 2012
Im currently living in France and don't have anybody to proof read my statement for me. my writing skills leave a lot to be desired and i need to hand it in over the next couple of days so any help would be great.
If anybody would take the time to have a read and highlight some of the statements more major problems i would be extremely grateful. Don't hold back, if you feel a whole section is useless it probably is and i would like to know. If anybody has anything they think i should add that would be great to.


During my time in education, both as a student and teacher, I have developed a great awareness of the positive impact a good teacher can have upon a student. I have seen how a good teacher can have a fundamental role in shaping a student’s character. It would be my aim as a teacher to do more than just teach a syllabus, I would aspire to encourage confidence, critical thinking and a genuine passion to learn in my students.

Geography is a subject that interests me both academically and personally. As a school subject Geography is in a unique position in that it tackles both the human and physical sciences. For me to teach the importance of the blending of these two disciplines would be immensely rewarding and is something that would inspire me to teach. Geography will hold the answer to many global issues of paramount importance in the 21st century, such as climate change and a continually growing population. Teaching a subject dealing with issues of such global significance will ensure I remain just as passionate about the subject as I am now.
In the two years since finishing my degree I have gained a great deal of experience working with young people. Whilst living in Bristol I took part in a three week “schools associate scheme “program at Sefton Park primary school. During this placement I frequently worked with small groups of students, this allowed me to develop a good understanding of the organisational and behavioural management skills needed to teach a class. During this placement I worked with both year 2 and year 5 pupils, I was able to develop a good rapport with both age groups but found I gained more fulfilment working with the older students.
Following this temporary role I took a more permanent position as a learning support assistant at Petroc College. In this role I had great opportunity to observe the efficacy of different teaching approaches upon/with the same class of students. There were many challenging students in this class and being able to observe how differently a class behaved in the presence of different teachers was an enlightening revelation into the importance of good teaching.
I finished this job to go and work as a qualified kitesurfing instructor in Western Australia. This role necessitated that I work as the sole instructor in charge of students. This taught me a great deal about the responsibilities involved in teaching and gave me considerable insight into how to deal with situations when they do become difficult. Throughout this role I taught both adults and children. Again it was working with children that I found most rewarding and this has reinforced my desire to train as a school teacher.
During my time at school some of my best experiences came from the various extra curricular activities I attended. I am still a keen sports person and would be to share my enthusiasm for the sports I enjoy by coaching sports teams and running outdoor pursuit activities in any school i was to work.
As a result of my work experience I have come to understand what a challenging, committing and sometimes stressful career teaching can be. However having experienced the rewarding nature of truly inspiring a young person this has assured me that teaching is the right career for me. I believe that the knowledge, skills and experience I have already acquired together with my enthusiasm and aptitude for teaching would allow me to make a positive influence in the school environment.
highclimber - on 05 Dec 2012
In reply to climbercool: Reads good to me, just make sure you've had it proof read for silly mistakes. Good luck
Skip - on 05 Dec 2012
In reply to climbercool:

It's good.
marsbar - on 05 Dec 2012
In reply to climbercool: I like it. I'm not the best at writing myself, so someone else might be able to proof read it, but your experience and motivation comes across and that's important.
climbercool - on 05 Dec 2012
In reply to climbercool: really appreciate positive comments, first written work I've done in a long time and it's felt horrible. Still sure there's some naff bits in there though. Ben
climbercool - on 05 Dec 2012
In reply to climbercool: with all the pedants on here surely someone has some criticisms (constructive) of this piece
Mattyk - on 05 Dec 2012
In reply to climbercool: i'm currently reading through references for students in my form applying via ucas. The big thing missing from yours and most the references that i have read (and i am told is needed ) from above is mentioning the specific skills you have gained from each of your experiences as opposed to just telling me about what you did and how rewarding the experience was.
Can you demonstrate teamwork, working under pressure, communication (download list of skills that teacher needs and insert liberally through personal statement)

maybe replace "gave me an insight" with "it taught me"

May be helpful but may sterilise what is quite a nice thoughtful piece of writing.

my 10pence worth anyway.
trouserburp - on 05 Dec 2012
In reply to climbercool:

It's good and the general message is very good. If you want pedantry:

The only things I spotted that are 'wrong' are in the sentence,
"I am still a keen sports person and would be to share my enthusiasm for the sports I enjoy by coaching sports teams and running outdoor pursuit activities in any school i was to work"

the first bit you are missing a word, 'keen' would be ok but you already used it so maybe just say "would love to". Something needs to go in there anyway.
The second bit, maybe you can 'work a school' but it's a very strange way of putting it, could say, "in the school environment," or lots of options.


Other points are just my opinion:
You start 2 consecutive sentences with "During this placement". They already know the context in the second sentence so you can just scratch those 3 words.
"upon/with," choose one or the other
"enlightening revelation," not quite a tautology but I'd choose one word or the other
"I finished this job to go and work as a qualified kitesurfing instructor," my point will wind people up but I think if you left teaching because you wanted to go kitesurfing, that's fine but don't celebrate it when re-entering teaching. You could have a more positive spin like,"Following this I went travelling to Australia where I took work as a kite-surfing instructor. This was an opportunity to be the sole instructor for a group of students."
The sentence, "Again it was..." is fine but could be better, more positive in tone, e.g. "I found far greater reward working with the children, which has reinforced my desire to train as a scool teacher"
"During my time at school," is ok but slightly ambiguous. I'd prefer,"During my time as a student".
"However having experienced the rewarding nature of truly inspiring a young person this has assured me that teaching is the right career for me," is ok but could use a comma or two. How about, "Experiencing the rewards of truly inspiring a young person has assured me that teaching is the career for me".
Final sentence is ok but could be snappier and stronger, "would allow me to make a positive influence...[yawn]". Let's down the energy of the rest of the statement.

n.b. I'm not a teacher or an English graduate or qualified very much to comment




Orgsm on 05 Dec 2012
In reply to climbercool:

The best teachers inspire you, they fill you with enthusiasm for the subject, they take you on a journey of discovery. A journey that may last a life time. How will you inspire your students? How will you start them on that journey? What inspires you and how can you get that across? What is the best thing about watching a student learn, and grow, and develop in confidence? How will you help foster an inspiring environment , in which your students have the confidence to make mistakes, without fear of ridicule, in their quest / no thirst for knowledge and experience?

I think if you can communicate some of the above in your statement you'll be well on your way. I'm not a teacher but I hope I've inspired you to think in a different way about what you want to come across in your statement. A teacher can have all the knowledge in the world, but if they can't inspire their students, create that thirst, then it may well be wasted.

Good luck!
Nutkey on 05 Dec 2012
In reply to climbercool:
I get a lot of job applications for internships. They all claim an interest in software; most of them don't really demonstrate it. So the first line of your statements grates with me - anyone can claim an interest; so this means nothing. Hopefully the rest of your application adequately demonstrates your interest. If so, the statement is redundant, and if not, then you need to substantiate your claim. Either way, it's an opening line that 50% of other applications will use in one

I like "Geography will hold the answer...." much better as an opening line, assuming you can justify this claim at interview.

Apart from that:

" During this placement I frequently worked with small groups of students, this allowed me to develop a good understanding of the organisational and behavioural management skills needed to teach a class"

I think you want a semicolon there instead of a comma.
Jon Stewart - on 05 Dec 2012
In reply to climbercool:

I'm not in recruitment or teaching, so you might do well to ignore me, but I've done a (successful) uni application recently, and am applying for training placements on a weekly basis and getting lots of advice about what people are looking for.

I like it - it definitely gives an impression of you as someone who reflects on experiences and is genuinely motivated - that you'd get a buzz from doing something positive for students.

I think the style's a bit 'choppy' - the sentences are often a bit short or sections finish a bit soon. It's maybe a bit heavy on reflection - what stuff taught you - and a bit light on what you were actually doing and skills you were demonstrating. If you want to give evidence for a particular skill (say, building rapport with a difficult, err tw*t, and getting good results out of them) the standard advice is to show:

- what needed to be done
- what you did and how
- what was the outcome

So with the instructing in Australia, if you give an example of when folks were difficult in the above format, that might flesh out what skills you gained.
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wilding - on 05 Dec 2012
In reply to climbercool:

I think it could be improved, although it is not too bad.

Writing is one of the most important skills. If you do intend to teach I recommend picking up this book: The Elements of Style. Alternatively, "On Writing" by Stephen King is also an excellent guide to how to write.
Here is my edit
During my time in education, both as a student and teacher, I have realized the positive influence of a good teacher. Good teachers have a fundamental role in both learning and shaping a student’s character. My aim as a teacher is more than just teaching a syllabus, I also intend to encourage confidence, critical thinking and a genuine passion for learning in my students.

Geography as a subject interests me both academically and personally. Academically, Geography is unique in that it combines many different scientific disciplines. In particular, I find the combination of human and physical sciences is personally rewarding, and inspires me to teach. For instance, many global issues of paramount importance in the 21st century, such as climate change and a continually growing population, are aspects of Geography. Teaching a subject dealing with issues of such global significance will ensure my continuing passion for Geography.

I have used the opportunity during the two years since completing my degree to gain experience working with young people. Whilst living in Bristol I took part in a three week “schools associate scheme” program at Sefton Park primary school. During this placement I worked with small groups of students, allowing me to learn about the organisational and behavioural management skills needed to teach a class. I worked with both year 2 and year 5 pupils and developed a good rapport with both age groups, but I was especially fulfilled working with the older students.
Following this temporary role, I took a permanent position as a learning support assistant at Petroc College. This role gave me a great opportunity to observe the efficacy of different teaching methods upon/with the same class of students. There were many challenging students in this class, and observing how a class behaved differently in the presence of different teachers was an enlightening revelation. This impressed upon me the importance of good teaching.
Subsequently, I worked as a qualified kitesurfing instructor in Western Australia. This role involved working as a sole instructor in charge of students. Through this experience I learnt more of the responsibilities involved in teaching, and gained valuable insight into dealing with difficult situations. I taught both adults and children but found most reward working with children. This experience has reinforced my desire to train as a teacher.
During my time at school I was fully involved with organised extra curricular activities. I am keen be to share my enthusiasm for sports by volunteering to coach sports teams and organize outdoor pursuit activities.
As a result of my work experience I have experienced how teaching can be a challenging, committing and sometimes stressful career. However, experiencing the rewarding nature mentoring a young person and seeing them succeed has assured me that teaching is my right career choice. The knowledge, skills and experience I have acquired, together with my enthusiasm and passion for teaching, will ensure I make a positive influence in the school environment.

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