PS 1st Draft-edits/revisions/comments welcomed!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
cumberland
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Aug 10, 2010 11:47 pm

PS 1st Draft-edits/revisions/comments welcomed!

Postby cumberland » Fri Aug 13, 2010 7:20 pm

As I sink further into my seat, I am overwhelmed with a sense of nostalgia. 2 years prior, I sat in the very same place. Naïve to the challenges that would threaten to snatch my dreams out of my grasp, eager to begin my journey and energized by those who shared my aspirations. As I sat, watching people cross the stage one by one, I began to think back to the day I embarked on my journey. I awake to the buzz of my alarm clock 4:15 Wednesday morning. I was determined to get an early start. It had been only a few hours before that I had fallen asleep writing the last few names on popsicle sticks and putting the finishing touches on my meticulous plans for the next day. Though none of the preparation the night before, or in the 6-week institute prior, could have possibly prepared me for what the next 2 years would hold.

It is 6:45 as I pull up to my school site in Hispanic section of xxxxx, I am filled with perhaps the same mixture of excitement and apprehension felt by a student on his or her first day. By 8:25, I was ushering students’ into the classroom to eat breakfast. My first year of teaching had officially begun. What I had yet to realize before I started, was that teaching was no regular job. In fact, it was no one job at all. Accepting the position of 3rd grade teacher, I was also accepting the position of data analyst, bilingual instructor, custodian, referee, breakfast monitor, social worker, fill in mother, etc. Teaching, and its accompanying rolls, enveloped my whole life. It was the first thing I though about when I opened my eyes and even in my sleep, I was plagued with dreams of how to ensure my students would master objectives.

As the relationships with my students deepened, I came to learn that I had a lot in common with many of my students. A single mother who did not graduate from high school raised me with limited means. But I had never experienced the kind of fear or pressure my students knew. Never had the goal of my education been to pass one standardized test, even though the curriculum I was being taught was not aligned to the standards. Never felt the loss of dignity of trying to walk into a locked bathroom or having no toilet paper or soap. Never had to face the constant uncertainty of not knowing what the following day would hold. Something about elementary education was frighteningly different from how I remembered it in my 10 yr absence. It was this missing element that compelled me to teach for America.

Upon my acceptance into Teach for America, I jumped at the opportunity. As a proud alumnus of New Jersey SEEDS, a program designed to prepare academically talented, underprivileged, youth for competitive boarding schools, I saw teaching not only as an honor, but an opportunity to give back in the same way that was given to me. Many of my life’s pivotal moments can be traced through my education experiences. 2nd grade in XXX, xx was and remains my vision of what elementary education should be. I idealistically assumed this to be the standard. Moving to XXX, xx made the educational inequity that plagues our nation my reality. My scholarship to attend a private boarding school for High school served as my ticket into an educational oasis. The inequity revealed when juxtaposing my educational experiences is why I teach for America.

Although my efforts have made a very distinct mark on the students in room 118, they prove to be only thin band-aids against the larger, more endemic problems that face America’s education system. While my experiences leave me with mixed feelings about what is actually attainable in two short years of battling the achievement gap inside the classroom, I did not leave feeling defeated. I left with a plan. In order to help my students, I needed to go beyond the classroom and into the realm of law.

Many times during my journey, I had this unrelenting tightness in my chest that I attributed to first year teaching anxiety but, in many ways, the feeling has not left. It is the feeling of knowing that only 40 percent of children read and write on grade level by third grade or that of the 40 plus students that I stress the importance of high school graduation to daily, only 54% will ever attain that goal. My experiences on education’s battleground have narrowed the scope of my goals with laser like precision. Law would be the means through which I would fight to gain the quality education that my students’ deserved. A law degree will provide me with the necessary skills to effectively approach the complexities of educational policy that affect myself and my students in our day-to-day lives.

CanadianWolf
Posts: 10439
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: PS 1st Draft-edits/revisions/comments welcomed!

Postby CanadianWolf » Fri Aug 13, 2010 9:11 pm

I have only read the first three "sentences", but I think that the third sentence is not a complete sentence. Consider merging your second & third sentences.
After reading more, I noticed too many careless errors. This is a weak personal statement since it reveals little about you.

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ShuckingNotJiving
Posts: 266
Joined: Wed Jun 30, 2010 11:24 am

Re: PS 1st Draft-edits/revisions/comments welcomed!

Postby ShuckingNotJiving » Fri Aug 13, 2010 11:32 pm

It is 6:45 as I pull up to my school site in Hispanic section of xxxxx, I am filled with perhaps the same mixture of excitement and apprehension felt by a student on his or her first day. By 8:25, I was ushering students’ into the classroom to eat breakfast. My first year of teaching had officially begun. What I had yet to realize before I started, was that teaching was no regular job. In fact, it was no one job at all. Accepting the position of 3rd grade teacher, I was also accepting the position of data analyst, bilingual instructor, custodian, referee, breakfast monitor, social worker, fill in mother, etc. Teaching, and its accompanying rolls, enveloped my whole life. It was the first thing I though about when I opened my eyes and even in my sleep, I was plagued with dreams of how to ensure my students would master objectives.

As the relationships with my students deepened, I came to learn that I had a lot in common with many of my students. A single mother who did not graduate from high school raised me with limited means. But I had never experienced the kind of fear or pressure my students knew. Never had the goal of my education been to pass one standardized test, even though the curriculum I was being taught was not aligned to the standards. Never felt the loss of dignity of trying to walk into a locked bathroom or having no toilet paper or soap. Never had to face the constant uncertainty of not knowing what the following day would hold. Something about elementary education was frighteningly different from how I remembered it in my 10 yr absence. It was this missing element that compelled me to teach for America.

Upon my acceptance into Teach for America, I jumped at the opportunity. As a proud alumnus of New Jersey SEEDS, a program designed to prepare academically talented, underprivileged, youth for competitive boarding schools, I saw teaching not only as an honor, but an opportunity to give back in the same way that was given to me. Many of my life’s pivotal moments can be traced through my education experiences. 2nd grade in XXX, xx was and remains my vision of what elementary education should be. I idealistically assumed this to be the standard. Moving to XXX, xx made the educational inequity that plagues our nation my reality. My scholarship to attend a private boarding school for High school served as my ticket into an educational oasis. The inequity revealed when juxtaposing my educational experiences is why I teach for America.

Although my efforts have made a very distinct mark on the students in room 118, they prove to be only thin band-aids against the larger, more endemic problems that face America’s education system. While my experiences leave me with mixed feelings about what is actually attainable in two short years of battling the achievement gap inside the classroom, I did not leave feeling defeated. I left with a plan. In order to help my students, I needed to go beyond the classroom and into the realm of law.

Many times during my journey, I had this unrelenting tightness in my chest that I attributed to first year teaching anxiety but, in many ways, the feeling has not left. It is the feeling of knowing that only 40 percent of children read and write on grade level by third grade or that of the 40 plus students that I stress the importance of high school graduation to daily, only 54% will ever attain that goal. My experiences on education’s battleground have narrowed the scope of my goals with laser like precision. Law would be the means through which I would fight to gain the quality education that my students’ deserved. A law degree will provide me with the necessary skills to effectively approach the complexities of educational policy that affect myself and my students in our day-to-day lives.


The bolded areas are poor* for the following reasons (in no particular order):
Misspelled
Cliche
ETC (never use ETC in formal writing)
Repetitiveness
Capitalization
Word Choice
Yawn-factor

*Words that are both bolded and underlined represent egregious spelling errors.

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stab master arson
Posts: 304
Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2008 3:23 pm

Re: PS 1st Draft-edits/revisions/comments welcomed!

Postby stab master arson » Sun Aug 15, 2010 6:20 pm

My comments are set off by // marks. I also made minor changes here and there to tighten or fix punctuation. In general, I'd say it needs a lot of work. It gets off to a slow -- very slow -- start, and then start declaring the system dysfunctional without really telling us why.

As I sink further into my seat, nostalgia overwhelms me. Two years prior, I sat in the very same place. Naïve to the challenges that would threaten to snatch my dreams out of my grasp, eager to begin my journey and energized by those who shared my aspirations. //Fragment// As I sat, watching people cross the stage one by one, I began to think back to the day I embarked on my journey. I awake to the buzz of my alarm clock 4:15 Wednesday morning. //Where and when are we? First you’re talking about sitting in a seat; now you’re waking up before dawn. If you’re flashing back, be more explicit about it.// I was determined to get an early start. It had been only a few hours before that I had fallen asleep writing the last few names on popsicle sticks and putting the finishing touches on my meticulous plans for the next day. Though none of the preparation the night before, or in the six-week institute prior, could have possibly prepared me for what the next two years would hold.

//I understand what you’re trying to do here, but by now we should have a very clear idea where and when we are, and what is going on. An admissions officer reading this so far knows only three concrete things about your story – that it involves a chair, an alarm clock and some Popsicle sticks. And that’s it. I can’t think of any reason he would want to continue reading past the first graf.//

It is 6:45 as I pull up to my school site in Hispanic section of xxxxx, //Hispanic section? What does that mean?// I am filled with perhaps the same mixture of excitement and apprehension felt by a student on his or her first day. //Or perhaps not. Either you are excited or you aren’t. There is no perhaps.// By 8:25, I was ushering students into the classroom to eat breakfast. My first year of teaching had officially begun. What I had yet to realize before I started, was that teaching was no regular job. In fact, it was no one job at all. Accepting the position of third-grade teacher, I was also accepting the position of data analyst, bilingual instructor, custodian, referee, breakfast monitor, social worker, fill-in mother, etc. Teaching and its accompanying rolls //Are these rolls freshly baked? Lightly glazed with garlic butter? Or do you mean to say “roles”?// enveloped my whole life. It was the first thing I thought about when I opened my eyes and even in my sleep, I was plagued with dreams of how to ensure my students would master objectives. //Ugh. “master objectives” – what horrible, vague No-Child-Left-Behind-speak. How about “learn cursive” or “learn their multiplication tables”?//

As my relationship with my students deepened, I came to learn that I had a lot in common with many of them – but also a lot of differences. A single mother who did not graduate from high school raised me with limited means. But I had never experienced the kind of fear or pressure my students knew. Never had the goal of my education been to pass one standardized test, even though the curriculum I was being taught was not aligned to the standards. //I have an idea what this means, but it’s not 100 percent. Again, be specific – e.g., does the curriculum fall short in the math department?// I never felt the loss of dignity of trying to walk into a locked bathroom or having no toilet paper or soap. //Whenever I’m barred from using the bathroom, it’s not a loss of dignity I feel, but a compounding sense of desperation. Lose this sentence.// I never had to face the constant uncertainty of not knowing what the following day would hold. //Actually, yes, you have; as has everyone else who never had a flux capacitor.// Something about elementary education was frighteningly different from how I remembered it in my ten-year absence. It was this missing element that compelled me to participate in Teach for America.

Upon my acceptance into the program, I jumped at the opportunity. As a proud alumnus of New Jersey SEEDS, a program designed to prepare academically talented, underprivileged, youth for competitive boarding schools, I saw teaching not only as an honor, but an opportunity to give back in the same way that was given to me. Many of my life’s pivotal moments can be traced through my education experiences. Second grade in XXX, xx was and remains my vision of what elementary education should be. I idealistically assumed this to be the standard. Moving to XXX, xx made the educational inequity that plagues our nation my reality. My scholarship to attend a private boarding school for High school served as my ticket into an educational oasis. The inequity revealed when juxtaposing my educational experiences is why I teach for America. //The ten-dollar words do nothing to paper over this sentence’s vagueness and poor construction. Rewrite it. The paragraph as a whole is a very rough. You go from talking about your experience as a student to pontificating about “educational inequity” -- whatever that means here – without telling us where the connection is.//

Although my efforts have made a very distinct mark on the students in Room 118, they prove to be only thin Band-Aids against the larger, more endemic problems that face America’s education system. While my experiences leave me with mixed feelings about what is actually attainable in two short years of battling the achievement gap inside the classroom, I did not leave feeling defeated. I left with a plan. In order to help my students, I needed to go beyond the classroom and into the realm of law.

//Same problem as the preceding paragraph. I have an idea what you’re getting at with the above graf, but it’s not clear what the connection is among being underprivileged (or, as I would call it, “poor”), standardized testing, and these “endemic” problems you referred to. Also, if the mark your efforts made on your students is “very distinct,” why not tell us – briefly – what that mark is?//

Many times during my journey, I had this unrelenting tightness in my chest that I attributed to first-year teaching anxiety, but in many ways the feeling has not left. It is the feeling of knowing that only 40 percent of children read and write on grade level by third grade or that of the 40-plus students that I stress the importance of high school graduation to daily, only 54 percent will ever attain that goal. //Too many numbers bouncing around here for too little payoff. If you’re going to be specific about percentages, don’t fudge the absolute number of students with “40-plus.” In fact, how can you even be that specific? Have all of your former third-graders reached graduation yet?// My experiences on education’s battleground have narrowed the scope of my goals with laser like precision. //Mixed metaphors/chiches make this sentence shitty. Rewrite.// Law would be the means through which I would fight to gain the quality education that my students deserved. A law degree will provide me with the necessary skills to effectively approach the complexities of educational policy that affect myself and my students in our day-to-day lives. //This ending is kinda weak. Again, it trades concreteness and specificity for bureaucratese, which I guess is what teachers in today’s public school systems are more than anything else. Finally, what's with those Popsicle sticks?//

cumberland
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Aug 10, 2010 11:47 pm

Re: PS 1st Draft-edits/revisions/comments welcomed!

Postby cumberland » Wed Aug 25, 2010 2:37 pm

Thank you everyone for your feedback!




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