The 2 week insight placement was really enjoyable because there were a range of activities each day, so it was very engaging and interactive. The first week compromised of training and the second week was a placement in a teach first partner school. The best part was meeting other insight participants from a range of universities and learning about educational inequality.
I definitely felt valued by Teach First, especially because the cause I was contributing to was reducing educational inequality in specific geographical locations. Teach first also challenged and stretched participants to think innovatively and outside the box. As I was taught a lesson during the second week I was doing real work and therefore was a valued member of the team.
There was definitely a lot of support available throughout the insight programme which meant you could easily talk about your development paths. Also you are assigned a line manager and a buddy and they were really useful in guiding me in the right direction and suggesting contacts to network with. The colleagues are really friendly so whenever you need help, they are more than happy to do so.
The skills developed on this programme are second to none. You learn/ develop a lot on time management and organisation skills, especially in the second week as you teach at a secondary school. These skills are useful for university when it comes to being prepared for deadlines. You also learn the different way children learn, for example a kinetic, visual, audio learner. This is useful to know to apply to your own revision techniques at university and beyond when learning new concepts.
The insight programme was definitely well structured. Everyone received a timetable online prior to the start date outlining all the activities involved and the time and location. The first week was workshop sessions, developing presentation skills and the second week was a school placement where we had to teach a lesson to secondary school students and shadow teachers. On some occasions some sessions overran but the general structure of the timetable was still followed.
The general atmosphere during insight was fantastic. The other insight participants were really friendly and as everyone was living out in accommodation there was a lot of time to socialise. Also the main purpose of teach first is to help reduce educational inequality and this made the atmosphere very positive as everyone was contributing towards a good cause.
The company were really good at investing in personal training and development because you set yourself targets on the first week and review them with your line manager before you finish. Also based on the first assessment centre they give you feedback and on the last day you take part in a fast tracked assessment centre where they look to see if you have improved on your weak points. So there is a real emphasis on development and improvement and they challenge you a lot.
By shadowing different members of staff, to talking to graduates and qualified teachers it really helped me understand what a full time role entails. I was able to learn more about the purpose and vision of teach first too. A wide variety of tasks were conducted and involved a lot of presenting.
Overall, from speaking to employees at teach first and hearing their experiences it helped to understand the company culture a bit more. However, I did not think there was a big emphasis on this during insight.
The content of the day was really useful in helping me decide my future career path. This is because during the second week I got to visit a school from a low income background and talk to many teachers to find out what their day to day job consists of and also shadow them. By teaching a lesson myself to the class, I was able to envisage whether this job would be right for me.
You are paid per week and you get free accommodation and breakfast. Lunch, dinner and transport you need to pay for.
There were plenty of opportunities to network throughout the first week. There were a range of guest speakers invited who talked about their role and how it linked to teach first. A lot of the employees were from external organisations like Royal Navy, PwC who are in partnership with teach first, where they hosted workshop style sessions.
The networking and social events were well organised, structured and fun. There were always refreshments and senior speakers were very approachable to ask questions. On the first as well as the last day there was a party for all the insight participants, which was organised by teach first. The opportunities were a good time to make friends and learn more about teach first from the senior speakers.
They did not mention any other activities that were available outside of work, which is something they can improve on.
I would definitely recommend this programme to those considering a career in teaching or even those who want to learn more about educational inequality. The skills that you learn on this programme, the confidence you build whilst delivering presentation to students and the friends you make on insight are second to none. Also the great thing about the teach first is that after completing the graduate programme, you can also be fast tracked to other employers like PwC, if you decide teaching is not for you anymore.