The country’s top graduates are no longer allured by money alone, as the trend towards lesser-paid, greater-meaning jobs illustrates. Teach First is the talismanic graduate employer who are pioneering this shift, and offer a number of fantastic opportunities for graduates who want to make a difference to the lives of young people in our country.
The premise of Teach First is simple: launch a high quality graduate into an underprivileged school, give them a 75% teaching timetable after 6 weeks worth of training, and watch as a combination of raw talent, youthful exuberance and a strong support networks works it’s magic, forming excellent teachers and providing impetus and aspiration to our young people.
It was long thought teaching was a career option avoided by the country’s top graduates. The mission statement of Teach First founder Brett Wigdortz was to make teaching a viable option for the country’s best and brightest. Boy, did he succeed. Teach First have recently overtaken PwC to become the leading employer of graduates by volume in the country. Their 2 year leadership development program incorporates the fundamentals of teaching with crash courses in how to become leaders and effective professionals in all walks of life. Teach First produces leaders with skills transferable to all sectors of the economy. It aims to produce influential people who will have a framework of knowledge regarding the country’s education system and propel them into positions where they can make a real difference. The aspiration is that these future leaders will be in a position to bring about meaningful change for the UK’s education system and raise aspirations for all of our young, regardless of social background.
As an advocate of the skills economy, where careers change at the rate of knots and success is determined by strong generic workplace skills, Kloodle cannot help but admire such a scheme. In order to teach successfully, a person first and foremost has to be a leader. You have to be able to take a child from where they are at this point in time, be able to see where you want them to be in the future, and facilitate that learning journey successfully. A teacher has to see the big picture of the national curriculum, how ideas thread through their particular subject and what needs to be learnt and in what order, and then needs to be able to transfer that onto micro scale, detailing lesson plans that account for wide arrays of abilities, progress rates, behaviours, ad infinitum.
A teacher has to be the ultimate politician, managing classroom behaviour like Kofi Anan, all whilst balancing between commanding respect and appearing approachable. Teachers have to be able to handle the very public pressure of exam results. They have to be accountable for their student’s performances and be able to improve their own performance year on year. A teacher has to work effectively as part of a team in order to be an effective member of the school. A school nowadays is an ecosystem of professionals and support staff, all of whom contribute to the successful running of that school. A teacher has to fit into this ecosystem and be assertive enough to make changes.
In short, a teacher has to be a miniature CEO, responsible for his or her own subject and all the stakeholders. It is not an easy job, and Teach First are correct in assuming that if a young person has the capability of being a teacher, they are capable in leading in any organisation throughout their life.
Teach First needs to be applauded for it’s efforts for our graduates. Not only is it providing them with an exceptional grounding in their professional lives, but it is also providing our young people with access to energy, enthusiasm, and a contagious attitude for success that they so desperately need.