You often hear the phrase “teaching is fulfilling” – but what is it about teaching that fulfils you? We take a look at the philosophy behind the Teach First programme to find out more.
By most people’s definition, a fulfilling role is one that gives you a feeling of personal satisfaction. But you could add to that: it gives you a feeling of satisfaction from doing something worthwhile.
Teaching is worth doing not because it makes money, but for its own sake. In a world with no money, no hunger and no sickness, we would still need teachers.
Disadvantaged children need good teachers
In this country, the quality of the teaching a child receives depends a lot on their parents’ income and where they live. Fee-paying schools offer salaries that attract the best teachers. Schools in low income areas don’t have the resources to compete.
One of the most worthwhile things you can do as a teacher is to work in a school where many of the children come from low-income families. Through no fault of their own, these kids are less likely to be taught by high-achieving teachers. As a smart graduate, you have a lot to offer. You don’t have the skills of a high-achieving teacher yet – but you have the potential to become one.
What is Teach First?
Teach First is a charity designed around the belief that all children have a right to a good education. The Teach First Leadership Development Programme (LDP) is one of the key tools they use to bring this about.
A place on the Teach First LDP is a two-year commitment. You’ll work in one of the schools where you’ll be the most valuable, and you’ll train on the job. You’ll learn how to teach, and you’ll gain the business and leadership skills, mentors and connection you’ll need after your placement ends. You’ll come out of the experience with a full teaching qualification (the PGCE) – meaning that you have the option to continue teaching if you decide it’s right for you.
About half of people on the Teach First programme continue as teachers. For the others, the experience isn’t over. After Teach First, you join the alumni network and become a Teach First Ambassador. Whatever job you end up in, you use your new position to advocate for change and equality in education.
The Structure of the Teach First LDP
- A 6-week Summer Institute. At this residential summer programme you’ll be immersed in teaching and learning theory. You’ll train in classroom management and the other skills you need to teach, and you’ll visit schools to watch experienced teachers put the theory into practice.
- Year 1 – the PGCE. While working in a school and earning a salary, you’ll gather the evidence and assessments you need to give you Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Through additional mentorship and training you’ll develop the leadership skills you began to build during the Summer Institute.
- Year 2 – qualified teacher. While you work in your school, you have the opportunity begin a 2-year Masters in leadership (the exact degree title depends on your university). You’ll also continue to hone your leadership skills.
Learn more about becoming a qualified teacher, what is the PCGE and how does it work?
Teaching prepares you to lead
According to major accountancy firm PwC:
“Two years teaching at a school in challenging circumstances will prepare you for anything that a career with us could throw at you.”
Teach First partners with employers who recognise the value of the skills you develop during the programme. You could be eligible for deferred entry and summer internships with many major companies during or after your Teach First placement.
Or if you prefer, you could put your leadership skills to fulfilling use by leading a class of children. Teaching can be a career for life, or a career for just two years. It’s up to you.
Teach First places fill up fast and competition in some subjects is fierce. If you’re interested, get started with your preparation straight away. Find out more on the Teach First website.