Laura McInerney has written a wonderful blog which tackles some of the common myths about Teach First head on. One of the ideas which she addresses is that participants only have six weeks training before they begin the programme. As somebody who is currently going through the pre-six weeks stage of preparation I thought it might be useful to let you know some of the things this year’s cohort have been up to since assessment centres.
All participants are asked to take steps to improve their subject knowledge and familiarise themselves with teaching practice. These pieces of work are a condition of our offers and must be completed before we are fully enrolled on the programme. It is also a little know fact that Summer Institute is actually the final stage of the interview process!
Here’s a wee glossary to explain these tasks more fully:
Subject Knowledge Audit and Action Plan
A series of assessed questions which test your subject knowledge. You must also make a subject knowledge plan to help you fill in any gaps, including a detailed reading list. This work require you to familiarise yourself with the curriculum you will be teaching and any areas of current debate in your field. A tutor reviews this work and helps to formulate realistic goals and deadlines. Some participants also go on courses to improve their subject knowledge. Evidence that you have carried out this work is required at the Summer Institute.
QTS Tests in Maths and Literacy
All participants must pass these tests before they begin teaching
Participant Preparation Work and Observation Experience
This is a rather meaty document filled with activities to complete. The work is divided into three sections for each of the five modules: a reflection, an observation and a plan for next steps. Each module also has a set of required readings or recordings which must be accessed. The observations in this document are drawn from teaching observation time in a Teach First eligible school. All participants must complete an observation and PPW work before the Summer Institute, where it is assessed by peers and tutors. Participants must also complete an initial reflection and a final reflection comparing their pre-conceived ideas with what they have learned from their time in school and their investigations.
Pre-Summer Institute Events
These events are not only an opportunity to meet your peers, but also a wide range of teaching professionals. One event I attended was hosted in a school and included a session on primary literacy teaching and a Q and A with current teachers.
The Teach First Community
Participants are invited to access content and resources shared by the Teach First community. The site is full practical hints, volunteering opportunities and generally a lot of goodies to get you thinking and doing before you start the programme.