I was a little worried about posting this statement publicly, but since I was rejected from Wolverhampton for the GTP Primary course this morning I began to wonder what had gone wrong... Please be honest and tell me what you think! I can take it! Educational philosophy: Why I need to teach It is said that ?the illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn? . The eloquent simplicity of the phrase is indeed beautiful, but it is its message that is most profound. The recent developments in educational practice are phenomenally exciting and progressive, yet it retains a simple ideology; every child has talents, every child matters and every child deserves the chance to ?learn to learn?. I consider education as, not only a ?tool? but also a force. Knowledge, of course, provides an individual with qualifications, an increased employability, and a wealth of information. Yet when education is at its most powerful, knowledge does not necessarily (as the archaic phrase goes) equate to power; indeed, a desire to acquire understanding is far superior. This philosophy is the reason for my passionate determination to teach. It is a theoretical model that is highly pragmatic, and one that I truly believe in. My Motivation I need to teach. I am currently reading Law at the University of Warwick, beginning my final year in September 2008. I have been thoroughly passionate about my degree thus far; yet feel uninspired to pursue a legal career. The Law seems to occupy a world of maintained stasis, in which change happens slowly, and where ideas for development are stagnated by centuries old systems and complex processes. I often think of the Law as black and white, and teaching as an explosion in a paint factory! There is no other profession that offers a chance to contribute something so valuable to another person. Where else could you ask the question ?What instrument is used to measure temperature?? and receive the answer ?The Trombone?!? I am very fortunate to have experienced first hand the dramatic impact, on both academic results and indeed my enjoyment, of an inspirational teacher. Long before the Excellence and Enjoyment initiative great teachers have understood the importance of making a lesson engaging and unique to ensure ?deep learning?. I hope, and believe in my ability, to be able to provide this kind of experience for children. ?Giving Up? Law or Transferring Skills? How my education will support my teaching ability I will always remember my Art teacher?s response when I announced my desire to study the Law. ?The Law, yes. But, do you not need something more creative?? Mr Truman, in hindsight, was right. I believed that a legal career should provide me with numerous moments of improvisation, artistry and drama, and it has come close; yet I still feel that something is ?missing?. I will never feel I have completely abandoned what I have gained from my degree. There is no doubt that a legal education provides students with the capacity to articulate their ideas effectively and concisely, understand the importance of good oral communication, and instil confidence and creativity. The practice of ?Mooting? (whereby students stage mock- trials in which they act as lawyers) allows the candidate to compile materials in a relatively small space of time in order to persuade the panel towards their argument. These skills are highly applicable in many professions, but particularly in teaching. Sue Cowley describes teaching as ?drama?; comprising a performer and audience, one relaying information, the other receiving and processing it. However, I believe the study of law to illustrate something further. Although Cowley is right in her assertion that the communication is one of ?theatre?, it is also a form of dialogue. There is no one- way process, no ?how-to? manual, and no ?right? answer. The same applies to teaching. The relationship that I see between teacher and pupil is one of shared learning, self-discovery, and conversation. A law degree does not only prepare a student for the legal world: it really does educate a candidate with regard to the wider world. Warwick University offers a ?law in context? degree, the impact of which being that every legal point is examined in its political, moral, historical and ethical context. I specifically approached Warwick for my degree due to a strong belief that all study is best understood in its societal context. A school with an acute attention to current agendas, particularly towards effective ?Assessment for Learning?, understands the paramount importance of relating education to individuals, their own strengths, and the world in which they live. It is vital that students understand the manner in which the curriculum operates, to provide them with versatile and transferable skills, designed to equip them outside of examinations and the classroom and far beyond. We live in a hurriedly paced world experiencing vast globalisation of industry and economy. It is vital that students recognise the link between their education and its impact on themselves, their families and relationships, their community and indeed the world around them. I am fortunate to have spent significant time working with a local school that are heavily engaged in this type of development, forming links across the world. There is no doubt that the students I have worked with perceived their own study in a wholly different light. Finally, legal study requires a keen eye for detail, a high standard of written and spoken English, an almost scientific approach to every aspect of study and a good pinch of creativity. I truly believe that all of these skills are invaluable in the 21st century classroom. On Beginning my career: Self Evaluation Understandably, despite a candidates experience, enthusiasm or qualification, there is an obvious need to develop ones own ability, to be able to reflect upon individual needs and to comprehend training in the appropriate context. I was keen that the placement that I have secured be in a position to provide me with a rounded and balanced understanding of the profession, the curriculum and the wider educational, and indeed societal, context. Since deciding to pursue a career in teaching I have been keen to begin to comprise a professional development portfolio. This document has proved invaluable to me, compiling information both on what I have quantifiably achieved, what I feel I have gained from each opportunity, and an evaluative commentary on each experience. I continue to update the portfolio after each interview, correspondence or communication and educational venture. My Experiences The experiences I have had within my own schooling and during the times I have volunteered in work with young people have reinforced my belief that teaching is what most excites and inspires me. I feel that no other profession allows an individual to explore their own ideas and develop those of others in any comparable way. Over several years I have spent a significant amount of time volunteering at a local primary school. This experience, I feel, has equipped me with a real understanding of the profession in terms of both teaching time as well as planning and preparation. During this time I have lead small groups of children in literacy tasks, read aloud to pupils, assisted with various administrative and practical tasks and listened to children read. I am hugely passionate about music and all aspects of the arts. I have assisted staff at Cooper Perry Primary School in coordinating several musical productions, performing musical accompaniment for various events and assisting staff with the organisation of pupils and costumes ?backstage?. Similarly, my love of art has been deeply influential in my experiences of working with children. In October 2004 I was invited to lead a day of observational art at a local primary school. Working with year six for the day was fascinating. I felt that I gained a real insight into the abilities of the pupils, most of them far surpassing my expectations: indeed, rather than finding the lesson one- dimensional, with instructions passing from myself to the class, there was a real multi-faceted approach with teaching and learning being shared among all of the group- including myself. I am immensely interested in this type of learning and am greatly excited by the direction of educational development in this field. I have been fortunate to have experienced a variety of opportunities during my own education, including working as a school ?peer mediator? for younger pupils, offering help as part of a counselling service and establishing the school?s first Prefect System as Head Girl. The experience of being Head Girl proved immensely valuable. I spoke with pupils, teachers, parents, governors and Ofsted, and gained a real, ?unpolished? impression of school life, the needs of the school community, and the types of issues that confront staff on a daily basis. Recently, I returned to the school to provide an induction session for potential prefects and designed and ran an afternoon of training for successful candidates. I was extremely humbled that the school had invited me to return, and indeed had given me the opportunity to lead a large group alone. Throughout the experiences I have had, the people with whom I have worked have truly believed that ?if there is anything we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves.? It is this type of mentality that really motivates me to teach. Most importantly, I am passionate about working with children. I am yet to find a group of people more willing to explore their own capabilities, ask questions an ultimately, to ?learn to learn? than children.