Teacher training personal statements: the dos and don'ts
A School Direct or teacher training personal statement is a key part of any initial teacher training application- it is your chance to sell yourself.
Your personal statement gives teacher training providers an opportunity to find out more about you – your motivations for pursuing a career in teaching, your reflections on any school experience you have and the skills, competencies, values and attitudes that you bring to the table. What can you offer teaching? What will make you an outstanding teacher who will inspire, engage and challenge pupils?
A teacher training personal statement shouldn’t be a list of all your jobs or qualifications – those are set out elsewhere in your application. Nor should it simply be a factual account of what you have observed or what you did in a classroom during your school experience. While it is important to give a brief context of this, it is much more important to explain what you learnt during your time in school; skills you developed and reflections on what you observed or did. Teacher training providers or School Direct schools need to see that you have thought about your experience carefully.
It's also worth reiterating how important it is to check your spelling and grammar carefully. You are going to be in charge of educating the next generation – you must have strong written communication skills.
Examples can be a great way of demonstrating what you have learnt
Steer away from overusing general teaching related statements such as “I’ve always wanted to work with children”, especially when writing a primary school teacher training personal statement. Obviously, ITT and School Direct providers want to see that you have an interest in working with children but this can be demonstrated through your reflections on what you learnt during any school or similar experience and what you found rewarding about the work.
Examples can be a great way of demonstrating what you have learnt. Think about the skills that make a good teacher and give examples of any relevant projects you have worked on or any children you worked with (always remember to anonymise the people involved). What was challenging about the situation, what did you learn and what were the outcomes you achieved?
By all means draw on skills you have gained elsewhere, maybe in a different career field or in your own education or family life. If you have overcome obstacles or challenges that you believe show your resilience and adaptability, draw on that experience to demonstrate how you would handle the pressurised environment of teaching and working in a school.
Your teacher training personal statement should be coherent and well-structured
If you hold a non-subject specific degree and you know you have some gaps in your subject knowledge, it’s a good idea to mention this in your teaching training personal statement but to also offer the provider a solution. You can demonstrate that you have done some research and you have already considered a solution to this challenge by mentioning that you would like to do a subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) course prior to starting your teacher training to bring your knowledge up to the level you need to teach.
There are plenty of guides on how to write a personal statement for teacher training which outline the basics, but the most important thing remains your own personal reasons for applying. Be clear about what motivates you. A personal statement which suggests that you have not thought through your reasons for going into teaching will not help your application to succeed. Initial Teacher Training providers are less likely to be concerned about someone who has had a diverse career but is now committed to teaching than someone who says they have always wanted to teach but can’t give clear reasons why. If you’re not currently based in the UK, include reasons why you want to pursue your teaching career here. And last but definitely not least, your personal statement should be coherent and well-structured!
- Draw on your experiences (especially teaching experience) to show what you have learnt and what you will bring to the teaching profession
- Evidence your skills, competencies and values, with relevant examples if possible
- Be clear about your motivations for going into teaching
- Make sure your statement is coherent and accurate
- Don’t copy! Your statement should be entirely your own work; do not copy online examples.
Good luck! Further advice from UCAS can be found here.