Overall the programme was good. It provided a good insight into Teach First as a charity, their mission and the opportunities they over. There was a good focus on the skills they require, however, it would have been nice to focus more on teaching and the Leadership Development Programme, to prepare us for if we get on the programme and what it would be like.
Most of the staff were lovely and friendly. They really made you feel welcome and created a lovely atmosphere to work in where nobody felt afraid or embarrassed to speak up and contribute ideas. They valued and appreciated every answer which was put forward - no answer was to silly! It was really lovely to be around.
There was always people around to ask if you were stuck or if you needed help, however, they were reluctant to just give you the answer and took the approach of guiding you to the answer rather than just telling you. This is a great approach because I really felt I learnt by getting to the outcome on my own.
The competences I developed during the programme can be taken forward into any degree and career, not just teaching. I felt my confidence and self-evaluation skills were developed particularly, and I know use these skills in my everyday life. I'm particularly good now at evaluation situations and looking and the good, and what could have been improved.
We had a timetable given before the programme and it was pretty much stuck to for the whole time we were there. This helped to prepare for what was coming up and to help us focus on the task in hand and future tasks. It was good for us to be able to see how much time we had until the task was over to ensure we could complete it in time.
The space was lovely, very bright and airy. A lovely atmosphere to learn and work in. All the staff we met were lovely, friendly and bubbly and I felt like I could ask many questions about other opportunities Teach First offers without putting them out too much. The tasks were fun, interesting and engaging, involving lots of movement around the building and creating a fun atmosphere.
The company has eight competences that it focuses on and over the programme they really focus on improving those skills through tasks and challenges. I really felt that over the two days I did develop in most of the competences, however some (e.g. self evaluation) were focused on more than others.
They were lots of talks about the opportunities that Teach First offers during the rest of time at university and after university. However, it did lack detail about the Leadership Development Programme. I would have liked to know what you study during the summer institute, and what your average day looks at whilst working in the school, how many assignments you have, and the workload etc.
There was extensive learning about the company and their values. It was great to hear about the actions they are taking to end educational inequality and what they have already done and they improvements they have made. It really inspired me to want to be involved with the company and help their mission.
Overall it made my mind clearer that I would like to participate in the Leadership Development Programme. I really believe in the company's mission and would like to take part in helping to combat educational inequality. It really showed me the difference I can make being part of the programme.
Full reimbursement is not available for everybody. I think you get the full reimbursement for up to £40 and then 50% of the rest up to £80. Mine did not cost too much but for some people the reimbursement did not cover much of their travel at all. You also have to fund yourself to get to the hotel if you are staying - it may be worth trying to organise buses/taxis/tube cards with clearer directions on how to get there.
There were plenty of opportunities for networking and meeting other employees. Different sessions were ran by different staff so we must have met at least seven employees if not more. They all worked in different areas so it was good to hear about their different jobs and their time at Teach First.
The first evening we had a sit down meal not only with staff at Teach First but also with a few people who had come and spoke about their time taking part on Teach First Programmes, in particular the Leadership Development Programme. This was great to hear about their experiences and clear up any specific questions we had.
Yes, one of the last activities we did was talk to charities and companies affiliated with Teach First to find out how we can help combat educational inequality before we start the Leadership Development Programme. However, it would have been nice to have a wider variety. The location of the companies that were there were limited, which meant unfortunately I could not participate with any of the charities.
I would recommend the taster programme to a friend. It is great for developing your skills and provides a good insight into being a teacher, especially if you're unsure about the Leadership Development Programme and want to learn more. It is also great for discovering more about Teach First and deciding if it would be something you'd be interested in doing after graduating.