One piece of paper can determine the rest of my life!

Sally Taylor is a final year Childhood Studies student. Here are her thoughts on applying for teacher-training.

Since I can remember I have always wanted to be a primary school teacher… I remember spending countless hours in my bedroom with my teddies laid out pretending to be taking a register. Now at nearly 21 years of age my dream is almost a reality. I have just started my final year of my Childhood Studies course and I would love to have a place on a teacher training course starting next year.

Young girl pretending to be a teacher to her teddy bears

Thinking back to being that little girl with her teddies and register I didn’t think becoming a teacher would be such a long process… It is. And anyone who tells you it isn’t stressful or hard work must be lying to you. I am currently attempting to sell myself to other universities in 47 lines through a personal statement. This is THE hardest thing ever! How can I possibly tell someone in 47 lines how passionate I am about becoming a teacher and educating children on the curriculum?! Thankfully at Sheffield Hallam we have an incredible Employment Advisor called Andrew, who we all probably take for granted, who is willing to spend the time pointing out exactly how to make universities see how passionate we really are.

Thankfully, I am a very organised person in general, so fairly early on I decided I needed to gather lots of materials from Andrew, online, books about how to write the ‘perfect personal statement’and through speaking to other students who had gone through the application process themselves. After I studied this material I decided to just write everything I could think of down on paper. I started by talking about why I actually wanted to be a teacher and about the qualities that I had. Then I progressed into writing about all the experiences I had and how this will shape me into becoming a first-class teacher. By the time I’d finished my draft I had 75 lines! As you can imagine I didn’t know where to start with chopping and cuttings things out. I made an appointment straight away with Andrew and he explained the UCAS layout to me. Little did I know there was a section about my previous experiences… Great, that was 15 lines I could move. I am still, 5 weeks after writing my original draft, adapting my personal statement. It’s funny really how one piece of paper can determine the rest of your life! Luckily, because I started my statement so early on I have the time to not get too stressed out about writing my application and as soon as UCAS opens I will be ready to copy and paste everything into the correct sections.

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I feel so blessed that I have supportive family and friends around me who are there to help me through this process. Because it really is stressful and emotionally draining. I often have sleepless nights thinking – I have no plan B! What will I actually do if I don’t get onto a teacher training course?! I still don’t have the answer to this… But thankfully I have supportive people around me who assure me that I can and will do it. The key advice I have when applying for teacher training is – be organised, use the resources around you and always have a positive mental attitude! As I was taught at primary school… PMA will get you anywhere in life.