September 08, 2005

Personal Statement – Second Draft

Follow-up to Personal Statement – First Draft from Garden, House, Walking, Other...

Once again, any comments gratefully recieved!

I am a motivated individual who wishes to share a love of science with others. Through teaching I can achieve this whilst enjoying a range of interactions with different people. I am not the type of person who would be happy in an office job, and the varied nature of teaching subsequently holds real appeal to me. Working with teenagers can be a very challenging experience, but these difficulties can make the job far more interesting, there are never two lessons the same. Another aspect of teaching that appeals greatly to me is the performance of giving a lesson to achieve the best learning experience for the students, from interesting presentation of material to tackling behavioural issues. I have always enjoyed performing and telling stories, and believe that these are skills which can be used productively throughout the education system, not just at Primary level or in the Arts, to inspire students.
There is a great need for young people to be inspired in Physics and to show that the perceived difficulties associated with the subject, such as the mathematical difficulty, are worth coming to grips with for the insights they can bring. One of the big hurdles to overcome here is linking what may seem to be an abstract subject with the real world. In order to improve my skills and knowledge for this task I have taken a number of modules in my degree which concentrate on the communication of scientific ideas. I have taken a module on the History of Medicine to examine one aspect of how science can affect society, and this year I hope to be taking a Philosophy of Science module and a module on Education and Learning.
In my gap year before coming to university I was given two fantastic experiences of education. From teaching English in Nepal, I was able to develop my classroom management skills, with classes containing up to 55 students the importance of behaviour management in facilitating learning was very evident. I discovered the importance (and tedium) of marking, and the difficulties of catering to mixed ability classes. Working in a situation without the range of resources that were available in my own education meant that I was able to express my creativity in producing teaching materials from sources that were readily available, such as tourist literature.
In my time as a science technician I was able to experience more of the non-classroom aspects of teaching, particularly the amount of paperwork and administration required. I was also made more aware of the value of working with support staff, even more the case with the implementation of the workload agreement, and the importance of a supportive staffroom environment. In addition to preparing experiments and carrying out administrative duties, I was able to accompany school trips giving me an opportunity to lead small groups of students. I also taught a GCSE physics revision session in partnership with a member of the teaching staff, giving me a chance to experiment with some of the ICT facilities in the school.


- 4 comments by 2 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. I hope you like your critiques "direct"...

    I am not the type of person who would be happy in an office job, and the varied nature of teaching subsequently holds real appeal to me.

    consequently, not subsequently

    Another aspect of teaching that appeals greatly to me is the performance of giving a lesson to achieve the best learning experience for the students, from interesting presentation of material to tackling behavioural issues.

    what do you mean by performance? This sentence sounds like an effort to cram in as many buzzwords as possible.

    There is a great need for young people to be inspired in Physics and to show that the perceived difficulties associated with the subject, such as the mathematical difficulty, are worth coming to grips with for the insights they can bring.

    Surely the difficulties with physics are real as well as perceived? Perhaps you could generalize this statement, saying that we have a need for more people to be involved in science, and especially physical sciences such as physics – and to do this, it's important that students should be inspired by the subject.

    I have taken a module on the History of Medicine to examine one aspect of how science can affect society, and this year I hope to be taking a Philosophy of Science module and a module on Education and Learning.

    how about: Last year, I undertook a module "The History of Medicine", which broadened my insight as to how science can affect society. I found this fascinating, and I will study a Philosophy of Science module this year, to take my knowledge further. I'd put the Education and Learning module in the previous section, talking about teaching science, rather than this one, which is about general sociological awareness.

    with classes containing up to 55 students the importance of behaviour management in facilitating learning was very evident.

    very evident sounds odd. evident would be sufficient, I think.

    I was also made more aware of the value of working with support staff, even more the case with the implementation of the workload agreement, and the importance of a supportive staffroom environment.

    how about: The value of a supportive staffroom environment was clear to me, and I also became more aware of the importance of working closely with support staff, even moreso with the implementation of the workload agreement.

    I basically think that this is a good draft. You use evidence well, and your writing style is mostly clear and professional. You will be an asset to the teaching profession.

    08 Sep 2005, 10:08

  2. I think this sounds good; excellent examples of experiences both in and out the classroom.

    I would be wary of employing the passive tense too frequently (e.g. 'I was given two fantastic experiences of education'; 'I was able to experience'; 'I was made aware') as you want it to sound as if you were the one actively seeking these experiences (i.e. they didn't just happen to you… you made them happen)

    Try to use active verbs if you're giving specific examples of things you've done e.g. managed, designed, created, organised, communicated, developed, communicated, delivered etc.

    Make more of the Nepal thing perhaps?

    Otherwise, I think this sounds like a strong application.

    08 Sep 2005, 10:22

  3. Mathew Mannion

    Make more of the Nepal thing, I'd agree there – also, I think that even if you don't take Max's criticism of the:

    Another aspect of teaching that appeals greatly to me is the performance of giving a lesson

    is that the sentence just doesn't read right… Needs rewording to something else… the words don't come to me right now though :/

    08 Sep 2005, 10:37

  4. The trouble with the making of improvements is that it tends to make me go over the line limit!
    Aggghhhh!

    08 Sep 2005, 11:30


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