When I was in primary school, one of my favourite games was pretending to be a teacher. This essentially involved doing a register with a list of all the names I could think of, then using a whiteboard marker to write the date on my wardrobe, as a substitute for an actual whiteboard. But although a fun game, it was never my ambition to become a teacher when I ‘grew up’. My real ambition was to be something cool like a pop star or an actress.
Of course as I got older, I realised that being famous was not a viable career choice and I had to figure out what I did actually want to do with my life. After a ‘year out’, which I refuse to call a gap year because I did not travel and discover myself, I began a degree in biomedical science, with the intention of pursuing a career in research.
To help gain experience in research, after my second year I completed an industrial placement year in the research and development labs at GlaxoSmithKline. Although I have no regrets about this decision, it did make me realise that my passion in life did not revolve around pipetting in a lab.
In my final year, I still did not know what I wanted to do after leaving the safety and comfort of the student lifestyle, but one thing I did know that I was passionate about was Enactus. For those not lucky enough to have encountered this before, Enactus is a global non-profit organisation, where students work together using entrepreneurial action to transform lives, tackling some of society’s biggest issues both locally and internationally.
Enactus became such a big part of my life in my final year and I realised that, whatever I did after university, I wanted to continue to create a positive change in the community. If I could do that while using my degree at the same time, that would be a bonus.
So, when I learnt that I could teach science while gaining a teaching qualification on the leadership development programme (LDP) with Teach First, a charity with the vision of ending educational inequality, it sounded like the perfect job for me.
Teach First exists because of the striking link between low socio-economic background and poor educational attainment that exists in the UK, two things that should not be linked. Family income should not be an indicator of how well a child does in school, yet sadly this remains the reality. The more I read into just how big this problem was and the work that Teach First were doing to end this educational disadvantage, the more I wanted to apply.
In November 2016, just three weeks after first learning about Teach First and after an intense application form and assessment centre, I was offered a place to teach science as part of the 2017 cohort. Now, seven months later, I am preparing to start the programme in just a couple of days.
The programme begins with five weeks of training, in the form of university lectures and school based learning. Then, from September, I will be moving to a new area, where I will be teaching science at the same school for the duration of the two-year programme.
In my preparations for this training to begin, which have mainly involved trying to absorb as much information from my teaching textbooks as I can and watching any teaching relevant shows I can find, I had the idea to start a blog to document this journey. I have always wanted to start a blog, but was never sure what I could write about, so I’m starting this blog with good intentions, in the hope that I will have enough content over the next two years to continue to write regularly.
It may be a little optimistic of me to think that I will have the energy and time to write while trying to teach, maintain a social life and stay sane, but hey, optimism is not the worst quality for a new teacher to have. I hope that this blog will provide a useful insight for anyone considering going into teaching, an interesting read for anyone simply curious about what my next couple of years will involve or just act as an entertaining blog for anyone who wishes to read my entries and feel grateful that they are not responsible for the education of actual real-life children.
You can find out more about Teach First and apply for the 2018 leadership development programme here: http://www.teachfirst.org.uk