Teach First

What did you do at work today?



Our recruitment video “What did you do at work today?” gives a glimpse of the challenges and rewards a teacher experiences every day. But don’t take our word for it.

Robin, who stars in the video, says every word is true. And he should know. Robin spent two years on our Leadership Development Programme, teaching maths to some of the most disadvantaged children in the country:

“The whole process of making the video was quite a fun one. I wasn’t involved in the creative side – I was the one who just turned up on the day and had to look into the camera without blinking for as long as possible. My dad saw it first and he said, ‘You blinked! You ruined it!’

“For anyone who’s watched the video and is considering applying for the programme, the thing I’d like them to take away is the fact that the script is real. The things that I say in it are accurate. You go into a classroom and your targets are there to have an impact, to change children’s lives. You are there solving problems right from the beginning of the day, and it’s part and parcel of the fantastic experience of being a teacher, of being challenged in that environment.”

“I’ve presented to the toughest audiences”

In the video, Robin talks about presenting “to the toughest audiences”. And there’s no denying it: The Leadership Development Programme is demanding. We train exceptional people to become leaders in schools. After our five-week training course you’re given real responsibility, teaching your own classes and working with children from low-income backgrounds. In Robin’s own words:

“There will be days where you’re crestfallen and you feel, ‘I can never solve these problems’, ‘I can never speak to the kids in the right way’, ‘I’ve made these mistakes’. But then other days you’ll come out at the end of the week flying, you’ll spend your weekends talking about nothing else but how this one child went from being bottom of the class to understanding what he was supposed to do. And that sense of satisfaction is unbeatable.

“One of the reasons I applied to Teach First was the opportunity to be challenged from day one… You are entirely responsible for the results of the classes that you teach. That’s something you don’t really get in many other jobs – that real ownership and control of the outcomes of what you do at work.”

For Robin, that challenge presented an opportunity for a meaningful career. And that was just the beginning. During the programme he completed one of our exclusive internships with PwC and was offered a job as a management consultant for after the programme. He says this was a fantastic opportunity to further develop his skills set, and now he’s returned to Teach First. “I’m working in recruitment, and trying to spark and motivate and engage the next generation of teachers,” he explains.

“My targets matter, really matter”

Robin also reveals what this line from the video, about targets that matter, means to him:

“For me, the main messages in the advert are the fact that teaching is meaningful, that you go into a classroom and you have an impact on those kids. I think the advert itself is pretty slick, but I think it really shows the truth of what it’s like to have targets that have a huge impact on people’s lives.”

Our participants often tell us one of the best things about the Leadership Development Programme is that it empowers you to have a significant impact, and to see the difference you are making every day. Robin explains what this meant to him, personally, standing at the front of the classroom as a maths teacher:

“The toughest challenge I came across in my two years as a teacher was a class of GCSE students. They didn’t really seem to care that much. They were all predicted Ds, Es, Fs. They’d kind of given up. But you go back to the reason why you’re in the classroom, and it’s all about this moment. It’s all about that opportunity to really try and change someone’s life. Maths is so important, it’s a prerequisite for everything, almost every job, so if they don’t have that, how do they progress in life? And so, as that year went on, we worked harder and harder, I spent a lot of time with them after school, and through that hard work, they got Cs and a few of them got Bs...and so their career opportunities and chances at life were literally turned around, and I helped them do that."

“No-one gets left behind in my team”

We know that children from low-income backgrounds tend to achieve less at school and in life than those from wealthier families. Of the 80,000 children who receive free school meals every year, typically only 50 of them get to the best universities. But with help from individuals like Robin we’re changing that. The Leadership Development Programme is a chance to give something back. In Robin’s words:

“I feel very privileged to be part of the wider Teach First community. It is a movement for change that’s looking to have an impact on society as a whole. It’s focused on really trying to right one of the great injustices of our time.”

Educational inequality is a problem that’s greater in the UK than almost anywhere else in the developed world. But you can change that. Since Teach First’s beginnings in 2003, we have recruited nearly 7,000 teachers who have now taught more than one million pupils in low-income communities across England and Wales. Schools in London, where we’ve placed 3,000 teachers, including Robin, have moved from being the lowest-performing in England, to the highest-performing.

The Leadership Development Programme is your chance to be part of that “movement for change”, in Robin’s words.

“If you’re considering applying, the advice I’d give you is: Do it, apply. The whole experience is life-changing. You will do the programme and be a different person on the other side.”

If you think you’ve got what it takes, apply for our Leadership Development Programme today.