Taster Experience

A Teach First Taster programme participant.

Two days for undergraduates to experience the thrill of teaching. Supercharge your CV and get a head start in selection for our teacher Training Programme.

  • Get ahead in selection for our Training Programme
  • Gain skills that'll stand out and help you with your next steps with Teach First
  • Experience what it's like to become a teacher for real
  • Boost your CV in just two days
  • Meet and support pupils from our partner schools
Duration
Two days
Held in London. Travel and accommodation cover available.

Get vital experience of teaching and leadership while you explore your career options - it could be the ticket to your first job.

Benefits

Gain skills that’ll stand out

Communication, presentation, leadership... these are just some of the skills you’ll hone during this course. Not only are they needed for teaching, employers everywhere are desperate for them. What’s more, they’ll prepare you for future Teach First experiences, such as internships, campus representative roles and the Training Programme.

Experience teaching for real

You’ll spend time with pupils from our partner schools. You won’t just be observing a lesson, you’ll be fully involved.You’ll teach a short mini lesson, and you’ll have the opportunity to talk to pupils about applying for university and what life is like there.

Get ahead in selection for our Training Programme

Not only will you gain skills that’ll mark you out during selection for our Training Programme, you’ll be on a fast track towards it. If you're eligible, you'll be given the chance to fast track your application on to our STEM Internship or become a Campus Representative.

At the end of a student internship, you have the option to go through a shortened selection day for our Training Programme. Campus representatives, on the other hand, gain automatic entry into a full selection day. Either way, no application form necessary.

Boost your CV in just two days

Nothing makes you stand out from the graduate crowd like proving yourself in a real workplace. Especially when it’s with a Times Top 100 graduate employer (that’s us). In just two days you’ll transform your CV and learn more about career opportunities and the path to becoming a teacher.

Support people from disadvantaged backgrounds

Learn more about the challenges our schools in disadvantages communities face, and meet the pupils whose potential, if fulfilled, could transform society for the better. 

Even a few hours meeting someone, who can talk them through their future aspirations, can be transformative. And if you become a teacher you’ll be changing lives on a daily basis.

taster participant sitting with a young pupil
taster participants working together round a table
taster participants sharing a joke round a table

Eligibility

What you'll need to apply

  • A grade C or above in GCSE English and Maths.
  • Your degree or A-Levels meet our Training Programme curriculum requirements.
  • Be currently studying an undergraduate degree, and either be in your first or second year of study or in your penultimate year of study. If you're studying a STEM degree subject and in your penultimate year of study then you are not eligible for the Taster experience, instead we recommend you apply for our STEM Internship.
  • If you are in your first year of study, to be eligible we look for 120 UCAS points (new tariff) or 300 UCAS points (old tariff). However, if you have 96 UCAS points (new tariff) or 240 UCAS points (old tariff) we’ll accept your application form but expect your answers to be exceptionally strong.
  • If you are in your second year of study or above you need to be predicted a 2.1 degree or above (2.2 degrees will also be considered).

What if you have non-UK qualifications?

You can still apply to the Taster experience – but if you apply to another one of our programmes you will be asked to show evidence of your qualifications and a right to work in the UK.

Who we're looking for

Our aim is to find people with the potential to be great teachers. That doesn’t mean we need you to be the finished product, but you do need to have the basic qualities needed to get there, and ideally a passion for teaching and an interest in taking part in our Training Programme.

When we assess your application we’ll be looking for these key teaching competencies:

  • humility, respect and empathy
  • interacting with others
  • understanding and motivation
  • leadership
  • planning and organising
  • problem solving
  • resilience
  • self reflection

You may not have all of them just yet. But if we think you’ve got what it takes to develop them on the Taster experience and our Training Programme, we’ll give you the chance to.

Teacher and pupils in classroom
Group of people talking
Two pupils sitting at a computer

Course

You’ll take part in one of our packed two-day events, building skills then putting them into practice.

When are Taster Experiences held?

Taster 1 – 16 to 17 December 2019
Taster 2 – 9 to 10 January 2020
Taster 3 – 30 to 31 March 2020
Taster 4 – 9 to 10 July 2020

What happens on day one?

Start thinking like a teacher. With the help of our experts, you will:

  • Discuss and debate educational inequality
  • Learn what it takes to be a teacher and plan a lesson
  • Find out why teaching skills are highly prized by employers
  • Identify what areas you need to develop to become a teacher
  • Understand how you can help make education fairer

Although there’ll be lots of focus on your own development, you won’t be doing it alone. You’ll meet and work (not to mention have fun) with other like-minded students who are exploring career options in teaching.

What happens on day two?

You’ll take on our Teaching Challenge. Flex your teaching muscles in front of a real class, using everything you learned on day one.
 
In a group you’ll teach a mini lesson to pupils from one of our partner schools. Then find out from the pupils which group did it best. It’s as testing as a Dragon’s Den – except the dragons are in Year 7 and much more likely to make you smile.

There’s more to the day than just the Teaching Challenge:

  • Get feedback on your performance from our experts.
  • Plan your next career steps with our help.
  • Learn about career opportunities with Teach First and our business and charity partners.

Who is it for?

This course is for undergraduates in their first and second years, or first three years if you’re on a four-year degree course (please note that penultimate year students must not be STEM eligible).

The course is held in London, but if you have to travel to get there don’t worry – we’ll help with the practical stuff so you can focus on getting the most from your two days:

  • We’ll cover full travel costs up to £35 and 50% on anything above that up to £80. 
  • If you live more than 1.5 hours from our London office, we’ll arrange free accommodation for you.
  • We’ll provide all your meals while you’re there (you can’t teach on an empty stomach!)

If you have any questions about the Taster Experience and whether you're eligible, just email us.

young pupil writing
Two primary pupils sitting at a table
taster participant sitting at a table smiling

Application

There are two parts to your online application:

  • A written section for your details and the specifics of what you’re studying. There’ll also be questions that give you a chance to display the competencies that we think make a great teacher.
  • A three-minute video you’ll need to film of yourself, answering questions that further explore the competencies.

Our tips for a great application:

For the written section:

  • Go slowly and read each question carefully. Some are divided into more than one section, make sure you answer all of them.
  • Take breaks. There’s no need to do it in one go. 
  • Do your research. There’s lots of useful information about us and our mission on our website.
  • Structure your answers to competency questions using the CAR framework:

Context: what was the situation and what needed to change?

Action: what did you do and why? Write in the first person (eg 'I did') and be clear about how you demonstrated the competencies.

Result: what positive outcome was achieved? If it was negative, what did you learn? If the result was measurable, show us the numbers.

  • Base your answers on real-life situations. Give as much detail as you can about what happened.
  • Check your spelling and grammar! Copy your answers into a Word document and use spellcheck, but don't rely on it. Always proofread thoroughly.

For the video:

  • Look directly at the camera, speak clearly and film yourself in a quiet place. We need to hear you. Using your phone or a webcam is fine – we’re not expecting a professional shoot!
  • We’re looking for the competencies we think make an amazing teacher, so  demonstrate them in what you say and how you say it. We love great communicators who are enthusiastic about Teach First.
  • Act natural. We want to see your true personality, so don’t script what you say too much.  
taster participant looking at post it notes on a wall
primary pupils laughing
taster participants working together round a table

Impact

Let’s make education fairer

Too many young people aren’t fulfilling their potential at school. We should, and can, do better.

Pupils from poor backgrounds are less likely to succeed in the classroom and less likely to go on to university or well paid jobs. The cycle continues from generation to generation, widening social inequality. It’s a cycle we’re determined to help break.

The stats are sobering

  • Pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds are more than 18 months behind when they leave secondary school
  • 28.5% of pupils eligible for free school meals achieved five good GCSEs including English or Welsh and maths in 2017, compared to 60.8% of those who aren’t
  • The poorest pupils are half as likely to go to university as their wealthier peers.

Unlocking potential

Our challenge is to build an education system in which all young people thrive, regardless of their background. Schools in low income areas are already doing a brilliant job in tough circumstances, but with our support they can do even more to overcome the barriers they face.

There’s no quick fix. We work with schools for the long term, developing inspiring teachers and effective leaders, and connecting them to networks of support. We started in 2003 and some impressive strides have already been made:

  • We’ve placed more than 10,000 teachers in low income areas positively impacting over 1 million children.
  • Pupils in our partner schools improve their GCSE results by one grade overall.
  • Within two years of partnering with us underperforming school departments improve GCSE results from 9% lower than others in the same school to 16% higher, on average.
  • Our teachers are over seven times more likely to progress to senior leadership positions early in their career than those from other courses.
  • 63% of our former trainees who are still teaching work in schools in low-income areas

Behind every stat are thousands of lives

It’s easy to get lost in the numbers. They’re important and one way we can measure success. But teachers work with people. Every positive statistic represents young lives changed for the better. That’s where the real satisfaction is, giving pupils the chance to fulfil their potential.

Shaeera's story

Making that real palpable change is why I love being a teacher.
Andrew Campbell,
2015 ambassador and primary teacher
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