As ex-teachers in business, the education community knows we can contribute useful ideas
After completing Teach First’s Training Programme, Leo decided to embark on a career in management consulting with Deloitte.
But he wasn’t about to give up on the cause he’d come to care so much about. Through our community, he’s found he’s able to keep on supporting the schools that make a difference where it’s needed most.
When I started teaching at The St Leonards Academy on my first year on the Training Programme, I was struck by how different it was to the school I’d gone to as a child.
I began to realise how hard it is for a kid to get their homework done when they have to go pick up their siblings, or when their parents are fighting a custody battle. But what surprised me most was the children’s honesty. They would bring you into their lives, and it was really nice to feel like we had a relationship, and to know I was supporting them.
I remember one pupil who had a habit of forgetting his PE kit, which was leading to regular detentions. When I sat down with him one-to-one, it turned out he was just really conscious about his body. Once I knew the source of the problem, I was able to talk tactfully with him and his mum about how he could eat better and exercise more.
Championing a fair education for all in the corporate world
After using my Summer Project to intern in London, I decided that I wanted to become a management consultant with Deloitte. But this didn’t mean I would stop trying to change the education system. When you do the Training Programme, you see how different people’s experiences are, so you really don’t have a choice but to become engaged with the issue of equality in education. It makes you feel passionate about it.
At Deloitte (which is a very large company), I was glad to find the Deloitte Ambassadors Network: a ready-made community of Teach First ambassadors who helped me settle into this new environment. Nowadays, I’m the Chair of this network.
Working together with other Teach First business ambassadors
Teach First’s business ambassador community are a close-knit lot, and there’s lots of cooperation between the different networks. This week, for example, we’ve got an informal video call about how technology can help in learning – featuring a guest speaker we found through the Teach First Innovation Network.
Just being able to talk to other people about issues in education is really important – and it means you can make a bigger difference too, by working together.
For example, the Ambassadors’ Network is getting together to see how we can support schools during lockdown. Sometimes, ideas that come from big businesses are met with suspicion in education. But because we’re ex-teachers, they know we understand classroom life and can contribute useful ideas.
Becoming a school governor and producing research
Now that I’ve become a governor at The St Leonards Academy, it’s my responsibility to look at how school reporting might need to change with respect to special needs. I don’t have much experience in this area, but the Ambassadors’ Network helped me quickly find people who do.
I asked a question in our Microsoft Teams group, which led to a call with a teacher who’s a governor at a school for deaf children. Through that conversation, I got loads of practical advice that I’d never have been able to get otherwise.
In 2018, I completed my MA in Transformational Leadership. I’ve since reached out to the Teach First community to team up with a fellow Deloitte ambassador, and produce another piece of academic research for publication.
We’re looking into how strategies for changing people’s behaviour have evolved since COVID-19. Long term, my goal is to write a book. First I’m starting with an article, then we’ll go from there...
Like Leo, if you've completed any of our programmes, that makes you a Teach First ambassador. You are now part of a community changing education for the better. Our community consists of teachers, leaders, policymakers and beyond, bringing their expertise to help unlock the potential in all children. No matter where you've chosen to go after your time with Teach First, as an ambassador, you're a critical part of the solution to ending educational inequality.
Find out more about how you can stay connected and continue to make an impact, below:
If you're interested in developing your career with us, explore our leadership programmes: