05/21/2019 by Carney Sandoe Staff | Landing the Job
The Easiest Way to Think About Your Personal Statement
Do you get nervous when you hear the term “personal statement?” Does the thought of writing anything more than 280 characters give you butterflies?
If any of the above is true for you, you're not alone.
We know the personal statement document can bring on a sense of panic and often seems daunting to a job seeker (not all of us are English or language arts teachers!). When working with our candidates, we get asked A LOT of questions about what a personal statement is what should be written in one.
“How personal is personal?”
“Does it need to be about some momentous event in my life?”
“Do I explain why I'm qualified for a teaching position?”
“Should it be about my accomplishments?”
“How much about my background should I include?”
Those are all great, valid questions. We at CS&A have one simple way we like to explain the personal statement to our candidates. It usually helps to alleviate any confusion or apprehension around what a personal statement should cover and how you should approach writing one:
Your personal statement should include anything you want schools to know about you that is not already in your resume.
Is that a bit vague and really broad? Yes. Is that intentional? Also yes.
Your personal statement is exactly what the name implies: personal. There isn't one right or wrong way to write one. Everyone will have a different story to tell, whether it's about why you're making the transition from higher education to secondary, what your philosophy of education is, why you're moving from public to independent schools, or why you chose to pursue teaching as a career. Maybe you want to tell a story about a teacher you had when you were younger who impacted your entire future. Or perhaps your approach will be discussing what you learned from a particular challenging student who went from a D to an A-level student. (Check out these personal statement ideas!)
There is not one single formula for a personal statement. What you should strive to accomplish is convey a deeper glimpse into you as a person and educator. Your personal statement should give schools an idea of who you are beyond your education and work history. We don't recommend repeating the information that's included in your resume (i.e. “My background includes experience in…”) unless it's part of a larger picture you're painting about yourself.
It's important to also keep in mind that schools use your personal statement as a writing sample (yes, even for you math teachers), so be sure you have double- and triple-checked your spelling, grammar, and sentence structure.
Don't let writing a personal statement intimidate you. If after a few attempts you're still struggling, you can always use your Placement Team as a sounding board – we are here to help you every step of the way!
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