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Writing personal statements for

Teacher training applications

This sheet contains information on applying for a teacher training course. For more information on teaching careers and to learn about the different types of qualifications, see our careers guide:

What to include
A good personal statement will include sections on the following topics: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Introductory paragraph; why teaching and why you? Relevance of your work experience; including your reflections, opinions, self -development, observations Why this age group? Additional factors Concluding paragraph

It should demonstrate that you have: relevant skills relevant background knowledge relevant work experience sufficient motivation/desire required intellectual capacity physical stamina strong commitment realistic aspirations suitable personal qualities/values

1. Introductory paragraph Why you and why teaching?

Think about your opening sentence. Try to avoid clichd and very general phrases, for example: I have always wanted to teach I believe teaching is very worthwhile Concentrate on what has influenced your decision to teach, how the idea has developed, what you have to offer in terms of personal skills and attributes Tip! Stress what you can give to, rather than take from, teaching Why you? Try taking a couple of minutes to write a list of the skills and personal qualities which you have (and can demonstrate), that illustrate you have the potential to be a good teacher. Why teaching? What was the trigger point? How did the idea develop? What has shaped your thinking? What did you do to find out more/develop appropriate skills? Have certain people influenced you? Communicate your enthusiasm Convey your desire to work with young people (backed with evidence)

2. Relevant experience (last three years only)

Experience from schools: What did you do? What did you learn about yourself? How did the experience develop/influence you? What did you achieve? What age groups did you experience? What techniques did you observe; effective and not so effective and why? Think about not just what you say, but how! Extra detail can help you demonstrate why your experiences matter. For example: I enjoyed helping the children with their reading - Only says what you did Taking a reading lesson showed me that - Clarifies what it taught you and shows that you can reflect and develop based on your experiences Other work experience Other experience with young people can also be helpful, this could include experience working in a youth group, after-school club, summer camp, etc. Even if work experience doesnt include working with young people it can still be worth mentioning if it demonstrates useful skills

3. What age group (key stage) you want to teach and why
This should do more than just say what part of teaching you want to work in. This is another opportunity to show that you have carefully researched your options, and to tie your application back to your relevant skills Draw on relevant work experience, what you have observed and again match with your skills and preferences Refer to any research you have done into the various key stages Why you have targeted a particular type of course eg for flexibility, reputation, key stage Additional skills/factors which have influenced your choice

4. Additional factors
This is an opportunity to mention other qualities that can support your application. This can include: Academic qualifications, such as A levels or additional short courses you may have taken Extra skills and interests, such as language, art, music, etc. These can be useful for after school clubs Why you chose this type of course Any further work experience that you have planned How your degree course relates to what you want to teach

5. Concluding paragraph
This part sums up the statement You can to re-enforce your commitment to teaching, and show that you understand what will be required of you during the course You may also want to show that you have researched teaching as a profession and have good reasons for choosing this method of study

Avoid: Overuse of short sentences, all beginning with I. Rather than phrases like I feel, I think, I believe, etc. try to use a range of positive action words. For example planned, managed, implemented, organised Statements that are overly general, eg it was rewarding. Qualify these statements by saying what you learned, what you enjoyed, what skills you gained, etc. Only using examples like babysitting or helping younger brother with reading as relevant experience

Other resources
Applications for teacher training should be made to UCAS Teacher Training (formerly known as the GTTR)

Our guidance on writing applications More information about teaching, including lists of training available and more tips on applying

Sussex department of Education, the department that runs initial teacher training at Sussex

The Careers and Employability Centre The Library, University of Sussex, Brighton, Phone: 01273 678429 E-mail: Facebook: Twitter: @SussxUniCareers