When applying for a new job, you may be competing with tens or hundreds of other applicants in a race for the role.
The HR manager or headteacher recruiting for the job will be scrutinising every detail of your application to make sure they are bringing in the right people for interview.
The application form is the first hurdle you have to get over and sets the first impression of you as a person in the recruiter’s mind.
The personal statement presents the perfect opportunity to show you are an exceptional candidate, understand teaching and know the school you are applying to.
It is not an easy task and is a tricky thing to get right. It requires being concise and clear – it shouldn’t be too long or read like a list.
You should talk about yourself and your professional achievements, while at the same time apply those experiences to the school itself.
We spoke to Malcolm Trobe, deputy general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, about what goes into the perfect personal statement. Here's what he said:
What does a great teaching personal statement look like?
"In general, I would say no longer than two sides of A4 – typescript. It needs to be well structured and linked to the specific school. It will need to include a number of key areas, including behavioural management, educational philosophy, subject expertise, pedagogy, personal organisation and skills and enrichment activities that the candidate can bring."
What should it contain?
"I would recommend that candidates include three elements in each of the key areas:
- What their beliefs/philosophy/approach is – i.e., the theory
- Their experience in that area
- How they would use that experience in the school they are applying to and specific to the job they are applying for
The statement should also include something personal in terms of their outside interests to indicate that they live an interesting and well-balanced life."
What are school leaders looking to read in a good personal statement?
"They will want to see something of the person’s character come through. It must not be just a list of achievements or repeat of the CV. It needs to be well-written, error-free and mention the school they are applying for – but not too many times. It should read as if it has been specifically written for the school and job they are applying for. I would be looking for something similar to the approach I have indicated above, covering all of the key areas and indicating that they have a vocation for working with young people. Somehow I would like to see a ‘generosity of spirit’ come through in the statement."
How can a candidate stand out in a personal statement?
"A good personal statement needs to include something of the person themselves. It has to make the reader believe that the candidate has something special without bragging or appearing arrogant – but something a bit above what other candidates may offer. A really good introduction and ending are important, and it's worth spending a great deal of time crafting those sections of the statement. Hook the reader in at the beginning and finish on a high note so that they want to meet the person and explore what has been written."
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Sample Teaching Personal Statement
I have been lucky enough to have been taught by some truly inspirational teachers and am well aware of the effect they have had on my life and the choices I have made subsequently. My own passion for working with young children extends from my desire to emulate these role models and perform the same inspirational function in the lives of my students.
I have always enjoyed being around young children and have supplemented my interests in primary teaching with as much work experience as possible. As a Voluntary Teaching Assistant, I have worked with Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 pupils, preparing activities and lessons and helping the teacher to implement them, showing me that preparation, planning and communication are essential skills within teaching. By fostering good relationships with staff, pupils and parents it is possible to provide a holistic educational experience that compliments the child’s extra-curricular life as much as possible. Through following the advice of my mentors in this role, I have become adept at building these relationships, and can successfully guide children through the day’s activities, at school or on related day trips. I have also found that a shorter work placement at Prospect House Day Nursery has allowed me to gain experience of the challenges and rewards of working with young children. As well as hands-on experience of dealing with the practical and emotional issues involved, such as attending to their physical wellbeing and comforting them when upset, I also used this role to gain experience of early education using a range of play-centred techniques and resources. Both of these roles demonstrated the importance of the teacher/caregiver role in both the child’s life and education and emphasised the huge responsibility, and the hard work needed to meet that responsibility.
I have also demonstrated my ability to perform well in related subjects and am currently undertaking a BTEC in Children’s Care, Learning and Development. Implementing what I have learnt through work experience has allowed me a greater understanding of educational theory and the way in which furthering my knowledge through undergraduate study could improve my abilities. As a keen student of foreign languages, particularly Spanish, I am also passionate about teaching languages to students at the earliest possible age. Languages open the door to exciting opportunities in life and providing children with language skills at an age when they are most receptive to absorbing information will allow them to make the most of these in future. Privately studying Spanish at A-level not only demonstrates my drive, determination and time management skills, but also continually inspires me to do what I can to improve language education by specializing in Modern Foreign Languages.
Studying and working in education has shown me that it is a challenging and rewarding career, but I believe my track record of dedication and hard work in both elements suggests that I can meet its demands. My commitment to providing a first rate education for my future pupils has seen me strive to gain as many additionally useful skills as possible, be they language, ICT or first aid-related. It is this that has driven me to pursue my ambitions in the field, and that will continue to do so through university and into my career beyond.
We hope this sample Teaching personal statement has given you some ideas to help write your own teaching personal statement.