English Literature (and teaching) Personal Statement Example

English literature will always be a passion of mine. I remember saying to my mum when I was little, “I don’t need to learn to read. You can always read for me”. I admit in the early years, I read only what I was told to by teachers, or by my mum. I even read with a girl once on a work placement who would listen to me read a section of a storybook, then when I asked her to repeat it, would struggle to remember what I had just said, rather than attempt to read the page itself. I would liken myself to her in the early days. I was eager to learn, and I loved stories, but only when snuggled in bed having someone else read the words. I am happy to say I have come a long way since then. Although I haven’t been caught up in the craze of ‘Twilight’, and I can’t say ’50 Shades of Grey’ appeals to me either, do enjoy reading now.

The last novel that I read was ‘Perfume’ by Patrick Suskind. I only heard about it by accident, my English teacher, when working on ‘Frankenstein’ in class mentioned it in passing. I saw it in the library a few weeks later and was intrigued by it. It tells the story of a cold, hate-filled man with a superhuman sense of smell, sniffing out and killing virginal girls. The subject topic wasn’t appealing or relevant, but it was an interesting book, and well written. I enjoyed the harshness, and the brashness of the text. Other texts need decoding, or a vast prior knowledge of the text or time. This novel said what it meant and meant what it said!

At the beginning of my AS year at college, my English teacher presented us with Mary Shelley's ‘Frankenstein’ and said “You may not enjoy it now, but it’s one of those books that get better as you study it.” I didn’t understand this initially, because I think sometimes we can try to pull literature apart too much, to the extent we lose the meaning and start to draw our own conclusions, but by the end of the year I understood why she had said this. There is more to literature than the pure semantic nature of the text. I may not have appreciated that when I was in bed hearing ‘Harry Potter’ be read to me, but I’ve grasped it now!

I have always been very interested in pursuing a career based around early years teaching - specialising in English - and since starting college and spending time at various work experience placements; my passion for this career path has grown further.

I am currently studying English literature and language, Performance studies and Psychology as I feel they all tie into teaching or help me to develop skills which will. English is a subject that I guess will always have a special place in my heart! I enjoy going from not understanding a text in the slightest to being able to understand the complex subtleties of the writing after studying it. I achieved the highest in my college for English which I really felt reflected my love of the course! The subject Psychology has very often baffled me and left me a little mind blown, (especially the theories of Sigmund Freud!) but it’s also been incredibly useful to gain insight as to how and why people act in the ways that they do. Lastly, I chose to study Performance studies as I’ve always had a passion for the stage, and having the confidence that I’ve developed through this course will certainly be beneficial in teaching situations. I also feel performance based subjects work hand in hand with English courses because there is so much in the language of playwrights such as Shakespeare or Caryl Churchill that isn't straightforward. The theatre is a powerful place for literature when understood.

University to me is where I aim to branch out my knowledge and passion of Literature to other eras and countries. I may not have always been an admirer of literature, but it's something that I have fallen in love with more and more over the past decade of my life. I would love to study it further at University. I hope to get a degree in English literature which I can then apply to a teaching degree later on so that hopefully my love of English can be translated onto future generations.

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This personal statement was written by AE94 for application in 2013.

AE94's Comments

My first draft, I've read a lot that talk about everyone's academic success, but I wanted to try and be as much myself as I could!


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