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.
If you are applying to graduate school, then you’ll need to write a personal statement as part of the application. Personal statements can be tricky as you do not want to simply repeat what is stated elsewhere in your application, but you also don’t want to turn it into an autobiography. Things like your GPA, accomplishments, awards and a list of courses you have taken do not fit. Your personal statement should be, well, personal. Why do you want to become a teacher? Why do you want to earn your degree at this school?
Before you start outlining your statement, ask yourself a few questions to get an idea of what you’ll need to include. Jot down each of the following questions and leave some space to answer them.
- Who am I?
- Why do I want to be a teacher?
- How should I address my academic record?
- How can my experiences enhance my application?
- Who is my audience?
Now take a few minutes and come up with some answers to these questions. Don’t spend too much time on this step; just write down your general thoughts. Once you do that, you will be ready to dive in and start writing your personal statement.
Your introduction needs to grab the reader’s attention at once. Remember that they are most likely staring at a pile of applications, and yours will be one of many they’ll read in this sitting. You need to be memorable right from the start. Follow this general form for a solid intro.
- HOOK: Grab the admissions officer’s attention with a broad, but strong statement about the teaching profession.
- LINE: Write two to three sentences that develop that idea and narrow it down to focus on you.
- SINKER: Deliver your thesis. This is where you state specifically why you want to study education at their school.
Begin with a short summary of your educational background. Do not turn this into a resume; just briefly give an overview of your studies in both your major (English, math, etc.) and in your education concentration. If you have any inconsistencies in your academic record, this is where you should address them. Do not give excuses, but if there are reasons why you did poorly in an area, state them here.
The second body paragraph is where you get to tell your story. Why do you want to become a teacher? What inspires you about this profession? What type of teacher do you see yourself becoming? How did your student teaching experience inspire you to continue on this path? Anecdotes are best, but don’t get carried away. Keep it concise and to the point.
Once you have explained who you are and what your professional goals will be, the third body paragraph should explain why you think you are a good fit for that particular school. Hopefully you did some research before applying, and you have some concrete reasons for choosing this college. Tell them your reasons, but don’t go overboard with platitudes. They know what awards they have won and where they rank in the U.S. News college rankings. Be honest and explain what attracted you to their program of study and what you hope to get out of it.
In order to ensure the clarity of your work, each body paragraph should be formatted the same. This way the reader will be able to quickly read without losing track of the point. After the first body paragraph, begin each subsequent paragraph with a transition phrase or sentence, and then provide a clear topic sentence. Support that topic sentence with solid evidence. Finally, provide examples to back up that evidence.
Conclusions are hard, and they are hard for a reason. Ideally, you have made your case in the body of your personal statement, so you understandably ask yourself, “What else can I say?” Try one of these strategies:
- Widen the focus a bit and validate your thesis without being redundant.
- Project where you see yourself in 10 years after completing your degree and becoming a successful teacher.
- Reaffirm your passion for your subject area.
However you decide to close, do not fall back to your middle school days and simply restate your case in the conclusion. Take some time to craft a closing that will leave them with an overall positive impression.
The Nuts and Bolts of Academic Writing
It is certainly worth noting a few of the technical aspects of writing your personal statement. Many programs will have specific items they want you to cover in your statement. Be sure you have carefully read and then answered their questions. Use a basic font like Times New Roman or Calibri and either a 10- or 12-point font. Always use 1-inch margins and single space your document. The general suggested length is 500 to 1,000 words. Don’t feel like you have to hit the word limit, but don’t only get halfway there either.
More from Applying for your Masters in Teaching: The Complete Guide
Steve P. Brady is a teacher and educational career consultant specializing in resumes for teachers.