Whether you were at the top of your class or your academic record was good enough to earn a degree in education, applying for a teaching job levels the playing field. The personal statement, required by most school systems in addition to a cover letter, transcripts and a resume, gives you an opportunity to articulate your passion for teaching that grades can't convey. Approach this task thoughtfully so those who read your statement will be reminded that one person can make a difference in the classroom and will be convinced that you are that person.
Ask friends, professors, family members, coaches, mentors, work supervisors and other people familiar with your character and personal habits to tell you about your best personal characteristics---traits that will make you an ideal teaching professional. Make a list of the teachers who have influenced you over time so you can refer to them when composing your personal statement. Compile a list of child-related volunteer work you've done, such as coaching or tutoring.
Boot your computer. Open a new document in a word processing program. Set up the following sections: Introduction, background, experience, class work, volunteer work, academic achievements and a one-sentence statement of ethics in which you express your personal belief or philosophy about the role a teacher plays in the classroom. Sprinkle the character references you solicited into the body of the statement as you fill in the subheadings on your outline.
Write at least two long drafts of your personal statement before putting it away for a day or so. Read the draft again--aloud--to identify redundancies, poor grammar, unnecessary paragraphs and weak points. Revise the content to create a third draft. Check the text for "the sincerity factor" to be sure that everything you wrote sounds genuine and true. It's perfectly acceptable to use the word "I" in your personal statement as you describe your talents, skills and potential.
Give your personal statement to a couple of people you trust to obtain their feedback. Try to include someone known to have good language skills, such as an English teacher. Leave your ego at home; this could be one of the most important statements you write in your professional life and you want to be certain your writing is clear and meaningful.
Edit the statement for content after considering feedback received from those reviewing your text. Take this opportunity to tighten up wording (500 words max) so school administrators find the composition compelling and concise. Use academic terminology appropriately. Eliminate clichés and exaggerations and double check spelling and syntax. Read your statement aloud once more before slipping it into an envelope with your teaching job application and supporting documents.
If you're uncomfortable starting from scratch, ask your reference librarian to help you find resource material with personal statement samples, then use the format you like best as your model.
Tips and warnings
- If you're uncomfortable starting from scratch, ask your reference librarian to help you find resource material with personal statement samples, then use the format you like best as your model.