Teach First NZ recently attended the Teach For All Global Conference, held in Puebla, Mexico.
Shaun Sutton, Chief Executive, and Mike Hughes, Director of Teacher Preparation and Support, had the opportunity to be immersed in the 'Enseña por México' programme, while also learning from the 35 other 'Teach First' organisations represented at the Conference, united by a vision of educational equity for all. Shaun Sutton shares his reflections on his return from Mexico below:
One of the things I learned in Mexico is that Teach For All as a global network is really starting to be recognised and applauded by some pretty influential global leaders and champions, and we should all take a moment to know and also to celebrate our own part in this emerging global community and movement.
This year's Conference theme was "Leadership For Change", which challenged us attendees to think deeply about our organisations' visions, and consider what it will take to foster the kind of leadership necessary to truly effect change in our countries and around the world.
We didn’t seek to “answer” the questions of what types of leaders we’re working to develop and how best to develop them; this needs to be an ongoing process within each partner organisation and our global community. But we surfaced assumptions, learned new theories, and gained inspiration that will no doubt lead us to individually and collectively better answer these questions over time.
Partners are often asked to present at the Conference, and this year Mike and I both were involved in delivering sessions or on panels, centering around the theme of diversity.
Overall, the highlight for me in Mexico was the day we spent in local schools and communities. I was enormously privileged to be part of the group with Julian Robertson, a strong supporter of Teach For All, who was honoured at the Conference with a 'Tiger' Leadership Award. See below some photos of our day in schools, along with some other general photos from the Conference too.
On the school visit, I was of course incredibly inspired by the work of the Enseña por México participants, who work in the face of enormous challenges in their contexts. But I also came away reflecting on some big questions about the vision of our work as a global network, and our work as Teach First NZ. In particular, I was struck about the importance of ensuring our visions, the visions of Teach For All and Teach First NZ, are contextualised and grounded in the local communities we serve.
Overall though, the conference led me to being refueled, reinspired, and reinvigorated about the importance of our work. I came away more than ever convicted that educational inequality is one of the greatest challenges facing our world in the 21st century, and more than ever convinced that great teaching and great leadership must be at the heart of our work.