Personal Statement-Draft 1 "Teaching English in Brazil"

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Anonymous User
Posts: 273117
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Personal Statement-Draft 1 "Teaching English in Brazil"

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 10, 2013 10:02 pm

Hello forum, I was wondering if I could get some input on the first draft of my personal statement. It is 901 words and exactly 2 pages long double spaced, 11 point, times new roman. I suppose this means that if I am to add anything I will have to take away something. Of course this is only true for schools with a 2 page limit.

Attempting to hit on: Service, foreign language proficiency, improving a system, leadership skills, initiative....

One thing I'm considering is that I should pick more of a single experience. Possibly focus more on my relationship with the class rather just 'what I did'. I feel like I'm missing out on some serious pathos points with my current draft.
Spaced it out so hopefully it is a bit easier to read.


The aging door creaked as I stepped into the room and I immediately felt the multitude of eyes within train on me, sizing me up. Sidestepping the

craters of missing floor panels with their exposed nails, I made my way to the front of the classroom. The unorthodox group I would be instructing had

members as young as twelve to as old fifty. Though they varied in age and experience, they were all in attendance for one reason. To learn English.

While studying at the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais school of Architecture and Urbanism in Belo Horizonte, Brazil I was asked to join a small

band of Brazilian students whose goal is to teach English for free to a portion of the impoverished population of the city. They informed me that as a native

English speaker I would be a great addition to their short-handed team. Despite not having any prior teaching experience, but interested in assisting the

local population that I felt I was now a part of, I prepared to tackle the challenge. I recalled how I was originally given instruction in Brazilian Portuguese in

order to help me structure and plan how I would deliver basic instruction in the English language.

Each class would operate in a fairly consistent manner. I would fire up the projector in order to display slides with a variety of phrases in both

Portuguese and English. I would read the statements written in English and have the class repeat the word or phrase back to me several times to help with

the pronunciation of the words. Remembering certain tricks that helped me grasp Portuguese, I would occasionally describe a word by saying it was the

opposite of or the same as something else. Oftentimes this would convert the marbled stares of confusion from some students to beaming looks of

understanding. After this, I would explain the syntax of the sentences and how they related to the rules of grammar in Portuguese by noting the

similarities and differences. After completing the planned slides for the day the rest of the time was spent helping students on an individual level. They had

been given photocopies of English as a second language exercises to practice with and rather than simply mark the work as correct or incorrect I shuffled

in between the desks, student by student, in order to help each of them forge a better understanding of the language. Despite sometimes stumbling with

Portuguese while attempting to explain a concept I was always met with gratitude, and I found myself returning to each class with more polished

Portuguese as a result of these interactions.

As I spent more time in the program I found that students taking part in the classes would come and go. Oftentimes, they could no longer juggle the

demands of their work and home lives in addition to taking classes on a language they only wanted to learn, not one they needed to learn. While I

understood that some people had pressing matters to attend to I was still troubled by the amount of students leaving not only my class, but the classes

taught by the other instructors as well. After the classes for the day had finished I spoke to the other student-teachers about an idea that I had been

mulling over to help combat the troubling rate of retention. I suggested that we ask the students what they would like to learn about the English language

rather than simply going over basic words and phrases. The others were fairly skeptical since they had still had an acceptable amount of success with their

current methods. Since I was in charge of the smallest group, I proposed that we use my class as a sort of experimental section to which they agreed. I

wanted to attempt to adjust the standard plan in response to a problem.

The next class period I decided to ask the students if they had anything in particular they wanted to learn about or to say in English. One student

immediately stated that they wanted to learn more about asking directions. Another student chimed in that they wanted to better understand the rules of

American Football as the sport is not treated with subtitles with any regularity. As I anticipated, breaking up the monotony that is so often associated with

the classroom helped renew the interest of the students. passed my findings along to the other instructors. Upon hearing about the positive response they

also decided to attempt letting their classes dictate the course of the studies. In the months that followed it seemed that student initiative increased, due

to the fact that if they wanted to dictate the classroom experience they had to bring what they wanted to learn about to the forefront.

It was inspiring how the students, unrestricted by age or socioeconomic status, were there only to learn for the sake of learning. None of them

needed the English language, they merely wanted it. By taking the chance to tweak a pre-existing formula I feel the reasons they had for coming to the

class resurfaced within them. By involving myself with the students on an academic and personal level I saw my proficiency in Portuguese increase which,

in turn, allowed me to be of greater assistance to the program. I went to teach to English, but I ended up learning about life.

User avatar
Ramius
Posts: 2005
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:39 am

Re: Personal Statement-Draft 1 "Teaching English in Brazil"

Postby Ramius » Sat Aug 10, 2013 10:18 pm

First of all, the grouping of this statement was completely painful. Aside from unnatural breaks in the sentences, you create no flow whatsoever. After slogging through your attempt at clarity through parcelization, I arrived at one point: your passion comes off as one for teaching ESL, not in studying and practicing the law. If you want to make clear your desire to practice law, throw out basically the first 3/4 of your PS and figure out a way that your experiences have influenced you in a real way to pursue the law. I'm not saying those reasons aren't there, but you failed completely to convince me of those reasons.

User avatar
manofjustice
Posts: 1323
Joined: Thu May 17, 2012 10:01 pm

Re: Personal Statement-Draft 1 "Teaching English in Brazil"

Postby manofjustice » Sat Aug 10, 2013 11:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Hello forum, I was wondering if I could get some input on the first draft of my personal statement. It is 901 words and exactly 2 pages long double spaced, 11 point, times new roman. I suppose this means that if I am to add anything I will have to take away something. Of course this is only true for schools with a 2 page limit.

Attempting to hit on: Service, foreign language proficiency, improving a system, leadership skills, initiative....

One thing I'm considering is that I should pick more of a single experience. Possibly focus more on my relationship with the class rather just 'what I did'. I feel like I'm missing out on some serious pathos points with my current draft.
Spaced it out so hopefully it is a bit easier to read.


The aging door creaked as I stepped into the room and I immediately felt the multitude of eyes within train on me, sizing me up. Sidestepping the

craters of missing floor panels with their exposed nails, I made my way to the front of the classroom. The unorthodox group I would be instructing had

members as young as twelve to as old fifty. Though they varied in age and experience, they were all in attendance for one reason. To learn English.

While studying at the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais school of Architecture and Urbanism in Belo Horizonte, Brazil I was asked to join a small

band of Brazilian students whose goal is to teach English for free to a portion of the impoverished population of the city. They informed me that as a native

English speaker I would be a great addition to their short-handed team. Despite not having any prior teaching experience, but interested in assisting the

local population that I felt I was now a part of, I prepared to tackle the challenge. I recalled how I was originally given instruction in Brazilian Portuguese in

order to help me structure and plan how I would deliver basic instruction in the English language.

Each class would operate in a fairly consistent manner. I would fire up the projector in order to display slides with a variety of phrases in both

Portuguese and English. I would read the statements written in English and have the class repeat the word or phrase back to me several times to help with

the pronunciation of the words. Remembering certain tricks that helped me grasp Portuguese, I would occasionally describe a word by saying it was the

opposite of or the same as something else. Oftentimes this would convert the marbled stares of confusion from some students to beaming looks of

understanding. After this, I would explain the syntax of the sentences and how they related to the rules of grammar in Portuguese by noting the

similarities and differences. After completing the planned slides for the day the rest of the time was spent helping students on an individual level. They had

been given photocopies of English as a second language exercises to practice with and rather than simply mark the work as correct or incorrect I shuffled

in between the desks, student by student, in order to help each of them forge a better understanding of the language. Despite sometimes stumbling with

Portuguese while attempting to explain a concept I was always met with gratitude, and I found myself returning to each class with more polished

Portuguese as a result of these interactions.

As I spent more time in the program I found that students taking part in the classes would come and go. Oftentimes, they could no longer juggle the

demands of their work and home lives in addition to taking classes on a language they only wanted to learn, not one they needed to learn. While I

understood that some people had pressing matters to attend to I was still troubled by the amount of students leaving not only my class, but the classes

taught by the other instructors as well. After the classes for the day had finished I spoke to the other student-teachers about an idea that I had been

mulling over to help combat the troubling rate of retention. I suggested that we ask the students what they would like to learn about the English language

rather than simply going over basic words and phrases. The others were fairly skeptical since they had still had an acceptable amount of success with their

current methods. Since I was in charge of the smallest group, I proposed that we use my class as a sort of experimental section to which they agreed. I

wanted to attempt to adjust the standard plan in response to a problem.

The next class period I decided to ask the students if they had anything in particular they wanted to learn about or to say in English. One student

immediately stated that they wanted to learn more about asking directions. Another student chimed in that they wanted to better understand the rules of

American Football as the sport is not treated with subtitles with any regularity. As I anticipated, breaking up the monotony that is so often associated with

the classroom helped renew the interest of the students. passed my findings along to the other instructors. Upon hearing about the positive response they

also decided to attempt letting their classes dictate the course of the studies. In the months that followed it seemed that student initiative increased, due

to the fact that if they wanted to dictate the classroom experience they had to bring what they wanted to learn about to the forefront.

It was inspiring how the students, unrestricted by age or socioeconomic status, were there only to learn for the sake of learning. None of them

needed the English language, they merely wanted it. By taking the chance to tweak a pre-existing formula I feel the reasons they had for coming to the

class resurfaced within them. By involving myself with the students on an academic and personal level I saw my proficiency in Portuguese increase which,

in turn, allowed me to be of greater assistance to the program. I went to teach to English, but I ended up learning about life.


Hated it from the moment I read the title. Gave it a chance but couldn't last past the second paragraph. I find this very unimpressive. It would not hurt you, but it will not help you.




Return to “Law School Personal Statements”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.