I became interested in teaching after realising how much I had benefited from excellent and passionate teachers. They exuded a real sense of enthusiasm for learning which inspires me to pass on that passion.
My love for RE and sociology developed during my A-levels after discovering an aptitude for writing, analysis and researching. This drove me to study more, going on to gain a 2:1 in RE and sociology from the University of England. Studying at university developed my passion for social sciences and taught me a range of academic skills which I believe are fundamentally important to teach young people. This is demonstrated in my dissertation, which was awarded a first, looking at RE teaching in secondary schools, opening my eyes to how RE and sociology give students a greater understanding of society and its place in our diverse and changing world.
While volunteering as a teaching assistant I saw the skills needed to be a great teacher one of which is leadership. My own leadership skills have developed over the years, from attending a youth club to gradually going on to lead small groups in activities. This has given me the confidence to volunteer as a teaching assistant in a mainstream school during my degree. By my final year I was able to take responsibility for running activities in the classroom, balancing the needs of each child and managing behaviour issues. In working with potentially more vulnerable students such as SEN learners I saw the role played by support staff in maintaining control of the classroom, particularly with those who can be disruptive when under stimulated. I learned the importance of differentiating lesson plans to educate and engage students with special needs and the power of strategies such as a well thought out seating plan and friendly competitiveness in learners. I saw students develop within the classroom as a result of my determined support and these good working relationships are beginning to result in higher grades. I have liaised well across a number of departments to communicate information about students in an organised and diplomatic way.
To support my professional development, alongside my studies, I undertook work placements in two other schools. Volunteering in Key Stages 1 and 2 confirmed my desire to teach Key Stages 3 and 4. I began to develop stronger skills in communication, leadership, behaviour management and knowledge of the national curriculum. Doing a second placement in my final year while balancing deadlines and dissertation research developed my time management and organisation skills. I was exposed to a range of pedagogical models and teaching methods which is something I look forward to learning more about on a PGCE.
I enjoy reading and learning about contemporary ethics and society, considering how I can use this to benefit the students I teach. While in schools I have seen the challenges and rewards present in a school environment. Teachers need to be resilient particularly when working with students who find school difficult, do not want to engage and do not want to accept support. However I look forward to working in the education system and believe I could help and inspire students to develop their future aspirations.
PGCE Primary Education Personal Statement 1
Education is vital to every child’s future and I would love to be a part of this. The early years not only provide the academic foundations that shape their later life, but also their attitudes towards schooling, which can affect their future careers and their ability to socialise with peers. Therefore, it is essential that the pupils enjoy their education and learn a lot, which I want to help them achieve.
Although I have not got a degree in a national curriculum subject, I still have a good basis for primary school teaching. Throughout my degree I had to write several essays and practical reports, which improved my scientific writing skills. My A Level in English Language enabled me to gain competency in literacy, as it covered a large amount of grammar and sentence structure, in addition to analysis of texts dating back to the 1600s and creating original articles using information provided by other texts. Psychology is science-orientated and I did A Level Biology, as well as all the sciences individually at GCSE, so I have a good knowledge base in all aspects of science required for primary school level. In particular, biology and psychology also required proficiency in numeracy through using various data analysis techniques, which I gained throughout my education from GCSE Mathematics onwards.
My psychology degree has provided me with a good background to education, as there are areas that aid understanding of children’s thought processes when presented with information. For example, in developmental psychology I learnt how children mature, which can help me to understand their mental capabilities, and use strategies such as scaffolding to aid learning. Cognitive psychology has helped me understand the mechanics of memory and how to utilise this to maximise their retention of information.
As well as a strong theoretical basis for the course, I have good practical experience for teaching. During my degree, I participated in the York Students In Schools programme, where I was placed in the dyslexia unit of a local primary school. The placement was varied, as I was doing different activities such as reading, correcting prose, phonetic tasks and explaining parts of the lessons the children did not understand. I have also used initiative by adapting my assistance to the children based on how much they understood. It also helped improve my communication with both the adults and pupils in the school.
More recently, I obtained a job as a teaching assistant in a Year 3 class. This has proved very informative and interesting, assisting children who are struggling, by giving them more practice in their areas of weakness. The feeling of accomplishment when they understood something they previously could not grasp was very rewarding. It has also taught me the importance of gaining a good rapport with the children, in order for them to respect and listen to you, as well as the need to stay calm when dealing with difficult pupils. I have the responsibility of running the netball club at the school, and this has built upon my leadership skills gained from completing the Community Sports Leader’s Award, which I obtained at college.
From my work experience in education, it is clear to me that I want to work with children in a school setting, as I am keen to make a positive impact on their lives, both academically and also more generally. I believe that I possess the necessary skills to make a good teacher, such as resourcefulness, communication and leadership.
Article by TSR User on Thursday 15 February 2018