Close to October

And it means its’ time to complete applications to go back to higher education!

The Graduate Teacher Training Registry (www.GTTR.ac.uk) website was open early on Friday morning so I started building my application to Birmingham City University (www.bcu.ac.uk) to study a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) for Secondary Drama.

The process has opened my eyes a little bit more to what I do well and what I do poorly, having to critically reflect and analyse yourself. Writing a personal statement was difficult for me the last time round when I was applying for University, and stage schools, back in 2004 but I thought that it may come a little bit easier now I’m a graduand, well until 14th October, but it’s still as difficult as it ever was.

Why?

I’m no longer in the phase of my life where I think its acceptable that you can put anything on your Personal Statements or CVs or massage the truth. I suppose this has come from my experience with elections. I can’t stand bullshit and I’d hate to think that someone was reading my CV or Personal Statement after an interview or whatever and think to themselves “well that was all (insert rude word, no, I shall exchange it for …) fabrication”.

When I wrote manifestos I wrote them not how to say how great, bad or average I was (because that’s always in the eye of the beholder) but on the issues focusing on what was wrong and needed change: concentrating on facts rather than slogans – on the issues not on tripe. You may be able to tell from this that writing a personal statement for teaching has been difficult because I’ve had to talk about myself in the most positive way, because if I don’t sell myself then who else will, and delve deeper than I usually do with regards to my union experiences to show the experience I gained over the last three years that would make me an awesome teacher of drama.

However I find that when you have a word count it can be difficult to prioritise what is most important, when you’re economizing what’s on the page, so rather than expanding one area I try and approach all of the sections with a general overview but perhaps that leaves too much to the imagination, and I should exercise more clarity in the writing?

After inputting my statement the website responded saying that even though I’d counted 47 lines that I still had 38 lines left and 750 characters, which means I need to write more about myself. One area I identified that I could improve was the skills from the Union so I expanded futher on the skills I gained as an executive officer, rather than as a trustee, and hopefully this will highlight a portion of the skills and experiences I was exposed to through the Union:

  • General skills: included networking and supporting a regional executive team, writing and implementing relevant policies to support and benefit students, compiling relevant research and presenting information in reports, dealing with issues sensitively and confidentially.
  • Technological skills: included administering specific and relevant website material, and utilising social networks to support and develop participation within student activities.
  • Management skills: such as designing and delivering election campaigns, organisation of a team of volunteers; training, supervising and supporting an elected committee of representatives; overseeing small and large budgets of between approximately £25.00 to £14,000, and developing and building fund-raising efforts through a committee to £1067.60 over a 9 month period.
  • Organisation skills: that included planning and delivering specific entertainments events, supporting relevant campaigns focused on raising awareness to students, regularly attending and chairing specific committee meetings, and managing my time effectively to gain a 2.1 degree with honours.

All of this required sustaining an unmatched energy and reliability that lead me to be nominated for both a platinum distinction and sports person of the year in my final year. I haven’t been comfortable referring to these nominations because I feel that employers want to know your achievements and your awards not your failures, and for a long time due to the circumstances surrounding the awards and the awards night I don’t think I ever wanted to embrace them as anything but failures. Though 120 days (give or take) later puts it into a more appropriate perspective. I wasn’t able to accomplish a lot of things I wanted to simply due to time, and it’s no cop out unlike many others, but I tried to be as pro-active as possible and achieve as much as possible but sometimes it wasn’t to be.

However what I did do is what I need to celebrate and champion. Many officers have come and gone, and many officers will do in the future, and that’s not going to change but I can stand by my words knowing I changed things for the better. I worked hard and I left a legacy that even now, whilst those in certain quarters will not want to acknowledge it, the Union is better off because of who I was and what I did. So finally I am able to embrace that students felt that I should be nominated for a platinum distinction and sports person of the year, in the same year, to acknowledge and reward a service very rarely seen at the Union: truly pioneering the way forward.

This is the person I need to show to the people who read my personal statement. They need to know that I’m about action and not words (The Juggernaut Campaign, Sports Development Officer 2009-2010), that I believe passionately about myself and my subject and that I am a capable performance practitioner as well as someone who can motivate and inspire people to not only connect with the subject but engage and succeed with it too.

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