Dominic Baker joined Teach First in 2010, teaching Science in South London. He is now Founder and CEO of Future Frontiers social enterprise.
I loved the idea of Teach First right from the start – the opportunity and the expectation that you will make a difference. It’s a positive kind of pressure and you want to respond. It’s a chance to get to what lies at the heart of social inequality and I found it hugely inspiring.
Through the Leadership Development Programme you receive a lot of very high-quality coaching and skills development. But for me it was also an opportunity to be part of a national movement – to become part of something larger that extends beyond your efforts and your horizons.
I always started each new class with a bag of hearts from the butcher’s shop. Seeing their wonder and optimism when that was their first lesson is a feeling I won’t forget. I think my strengths lay in the pastoral and behaviour management side of teaching – building strong relationships and being a role model. I managed to engage some kids who simply wouldn’t stay in other classes.
One of the best ways of engaging kids with education is to talk to them about what they might want to do in the future and then showing them the steps they need to take to get there. Since leaving the classroom I’ve founded Future Frontiers, a social enterprise that employs undergraduates to provide personalised career coaching to students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The ambassador team and network has been hugely important in supporting us to get Future Frontiers off the ground. Teach First gave me the experience and the confidence to be a leader and turn the insight I gained as a teacher into something that is already making a real difference.