A Problem Shared: Mary and Louise

They say a problem shared is a problem halved. So we caught up with ambassadors Mary and Louise to hear how staying connected has enriched their  lives.

Our ambassador community is a powerful force for change, made up of talented teachers and leaders – in schools, education and beyond. By connecting, they unleash a world of opportunities for each other to learn, influence policy, support schools, and ultimately create the change our society desperately needs.

This week, we caught up with Teach First ambassadors Mary Butcher, the Founder of Mastery with Mary Tutoring, and Louise Turtle, Associate Teacher at Park Street School Elementary in Boston. The pair met while volunteering in Boston, USA. Here's how they've stayed connected since.


Before you first met, what kind of help you looking for?

Mary: I’d just moved to Boston a few weeks before, so I was looking for new friends in my new home!

Louise: I’d recently moved to Boston, USA from the West Midlands. I was looking for buddies that would ‘get’ my passion for education. 


How did you find each other?

Mary: Louise and I bumped into each other as we signed into an orientation session for a school volunteering programme in Cambridge, Massachusetts. We recognised the British accents immediately!

Louise: We were both signing up to volunteer with a charity called Cambridge Schools Volunteers. Mary heard my British accent across the hall and immediately introduced herself. 


What were your first impressions of each other?

Mary: Professional and put together. Forward thinking and very switched on.

Louise: Yes a Brit! (Dancing internally) 


What do you think they made of you?

Mary: Probably a bit overenthusiastic and desperate for friends...

Louise: Yes a Brit! (Dancing internally)


Describe them in 3 words

Mary: A planner, kind and positive.

Louise: Honest, decisive, approachable. 


Teach First ambassadors Mary Butcher and Louise Turtle


How has connecting with them helped you?

Mary: It was great to have a friend here in Boston who could relate to the difficult parts of moving to a new country, even though it’s such an exciting opportunity we were lucky to have!

Louise: Meeting Mary so randomly inspired me to set up a Teach First Meet-ups group in Boston. It was so comforting to chat to someone with similar experiences in a new place. With a little help from Teach First HQ, we were able to connect with more Teach First Ambassadors to discuss our experience of Boston and education in the States. Now that I’ve left the US, Mary is keeping our little group going!  


How do you think you’ve helped them by connecting with them?

Mary: Probably similar to my answer, also my tour of the New England Aquarium (where I volunteer as an educator) was second to none...

Louise: We’ve also helped each other with job applications and resumes too (the US formatting is so different).


What’s the most interesting thing that you’ve learned about them?

Mary: Lots of things, but those stories are definitely hers to tell!

Louise: Mary changes her hair colour frequently. 


How are you hoping to support each other going forward?

Mary: We’ve already been proof-reading job applications for each other, I’m sure we’ll do our best to support each other professionally and socially.

Louise: Well I’m hoping to come and visit Mary back in Boston! 


If there were other ambassadors looking for help, what would you recommend them for?

Mary: Finding a job overseas, 6th form leadership advice, English teaching, being a positive role model.

Louise: I’d recommend Mary as a great listener and advisor. 


And lastly, who would play them in the movie of their life?

Mary: Indira Varma (I can imagine Louise being as fierce as Ellaria Sand from Game of Thrones if needed).

Louise: A more cheerful Kristen Stewart.


As an ambassador community, we can achieve so much more together. We can support each other, innovate and influence education across the country. Simply put, we make greater strides together in making education fair than we can alone. That’s why it’s so important to make sure that you’re still connected to the ambassador community.  

To avoid missing out on a unique community and everything we’ve got planned in the next year and beyond, head to connect2.teachfirst.org.uk/update. It only takes a few minutes but makes an enormous difference to our community. Together, we’ll take even bigger steps forward to building a fair education for all.

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