In my early education, reading and writing were a challenge, at the age of nine I received a diagnosis of dyslexia bringing with it extra support from the school. This gave me a real determination to overcome my disability. It drove me to study hard, achieve high GCSE and A-level grades and go on to achieve a 2:1 in criminology at the University of England. Although this is not a national curriculum subject, working through and coping with my dyslexia at university helped me nurture my own love of learning. I was able to take more responsibility for my own learning, leading to a deeper understanding of how I and others learn. I developed the ability to work to a deadline under pressure both independently and in groups, something I feel is directly relevant to teaching. Other relevant skills I have gained are data analysis, essay writing, critical analysis and researching.
I began spending one day a week, then two days a week in a primary school which has strengthened my love of learning. I spent time in both Key Stage 1 and 2 classrooms and have so far completed 40 days in a school. I observed lessons such as English, maths, Spanish, science and art, listened to pupils read, and went on to work with small groups. I started to grasp lesson planning and discuss with teachers current educational issues such as the changing curriculum. I was able to observe how different teachers handle classroom and behaviour management, particularly picking up on the importance of maintaining an assertive yet sympathetic style. All of this shapes my classroom practice to become more effective, for example seeing someone moving up a reading band as a result of the extra time I gave to them. Recently I saw a child making good decisions with their behaviour as a result of the plans we made together. I am gaining experience currently with a year three class of 30 children, working with them one to one, in groups and leading the whole class. Learning to think on my feet numerous times a day is challenging but rewarding especially when I receive positive feedback on my lessons. Picking up on some of the skills learned at university I have been able to train a number of staff in the effective and confident use of ICT.
This summer I worked as a camp counsellor in America with a group of nine girls. I shared their cabin and was responsible for all their needs including their physical and emotional wellbeing. I needed many of the skills I had seen in the classroom to be an excellent counsellor and I was able to use my singing skills to set up a choir who performed to the rest of the camp. Resilience, good judgement, enthusiasm, energy, patience, creativity, responsibility, leadership, reliability and stamina were all essential. Looking back I can see my time at 'Camp Wonderful' grew my confidence, leadership and communication skills, which I look forward to bringing back to the classroom.
In my studies, classroom work and at camp I continue to see the rewards of inspiring and teaching primary school children. I chose to specialise in Key Stages 1 and 2 as I feel it is demanding but hugely rewarding to work with children at this vital formative period in their educational development.
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