Tim, graduated in 2020
I applied to Teach First in my second year at Bristol. I applied because I am passionate about creating an education system which works for everyone. This encouraged me to teach science, because science teachers are in such short supply.
Graduating during a lockdown was a strange experience. Training to teach during that lockdown was even more surreal.
Starting in school I was faced with pupils who had been learning from home for half an academic year. Settling them back into school proved a huge challenge. They were keen to be back, but had completely forgotten how to sit in a chair!
This developed me as a person in ways I had not believed possible. It created patience I did not think myself capable of. It taught me to respect people far more deeply than I had before.
At the same time, it also taught me about working collaboratively, and about empathetic communication. All these are lessons for which I am hugely grateful.
After opting to teach in Yorkshire, I was placed in Halifax. This introduced me to a range of cultures I had no prior experience of before. My school, Trinity Academy Grammar, has one of the most diverse cohorts in Halifax.
This confluence gave me insight into lives of people entirely different to my own. This gave myriad opportunities for reciprocal learning. While I could educate my pupils about magnets, and North Yorkshire, they could educate me about Halifax and the delights of Saturdays in Bradford.
I loved being able to get started straight away. On my first day I had five lessons, meaning that the mistakes I made in period one were already nearly fixed by period five. This pace gave opportunities to get involved in departmental projects and school wide experiences that would have been months or years down the line had I not gone for Teach First.
Teach First offered ways to engage with other teachers in similar positions. I became involved in running their multi-faith networks. These opportunities gave me opportunities to build community across a national group of like minded people, and to put on some fascinating events in the process.
Among others, we hosted heads of Islamic and Catholic faith schools and heard their contrasting experiences. This offered a space to identify that was hugely valuable.
I also took over running the Calderdale network. This offered a group to get a pint with after a long day!
Teach First has been a wonderful way to start my working life. It has shown me the impact I can have every day. It has also given me insight into the lives of people I would not have the pleasure of knowing were it not for being their teacher.
Applications for the Teach First 2023 Training Programme are open.