I wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted to do after university, so Teach First gave me an opportunity to contribute meaningfully to education while also developing some valuable leadership skills.
Working with the students is a lot of fun, but you’re not as ‘down with the kids’ as you might expect to be! The biggest challenges are always going to be about the behaviour, but it's so rewarding seeing them learn and witnessing those priceless lightbulb moments. You’ll learn a lot of strategies for dealing with the challenges, but above all, what you have to understand – and really you can only do it through experience – is that teaching is about leading.
During my two years on the Teach First programme, one of my personal highlights was achieving an ‘Outstanding’ rating from Ofsted [UK school inspectorate] during an inspection. My lesson was actually described in the report for all to see, and that was a very proud moment. I felt like my effort was being rewarded and recognised, and it was evident in the development of the children I taught, too.
As a Teach First participant, you have to be incredibly resilient and are responsible for the learning of each student in your class. I think it’s these kinds of qualities that Accenture valued when I did my Teach First summer internship with them, and why they offered me a full-time role. Now I am both an advocate for Teach First and its mission within Accenture, and I remain involved in ongoing mentoring activities.