This morning I woke up far too bright and early. Unfortunately the windows in the London accommodation are universally wedged open. This meant that most of our rooms were freezing and full of insects by the time we got home last night. It also wasn’t conducive to blocking out the noise of Camden Town. All this meant that I spent the hours before dawn reading rather than sleeping and was consequently VERY grumpy this morning. (Please keep reading as I cheered up later in the day.)
The beginning of the day actually got off to a good start, my Institute of Education I.D. photo was marginally better than my Teach First one, although it does expire in November, which could be problematic! Unfortunately things took a bit of a downward spiral when I arrived for the getting to know you session for my sub-region. The room was over-crowed and when the university mentors took a register I discovered that I wasn’t on it. It soon transpired that there was a timetabling error and not enough space in our sub-region group to accommodate everyone. This meant that members of our region were deployed to other groups. While the regional team were very nice about the whole thing, and tried to get us into a group as soon as possible, I was a little disappointed to be placed in a different region as it means I’ll spend less time with those who will be in close proximity come September.
The teaching so far has been interesting and thought provoking. The day consisted of a mixture of icebreaker activities, starter questions, some facts about the history of state education, a reflection task on our educational experiences and an activity in which we created a dream curriculum.
We have also had the opportunity to find out more about other participants. This year’s cohort come from a wide range of backgrounds. I have met everyone from recent graduates to seasoned professionals, people who have worked in the city to people who have been in the army. There are mums and dads and people with mortgages and rent to pay. While Teach Firsters are often stereotyped as young graduates who want a fast track into management, I am pleased to see that this is definitely not the case! The diversity of participants means that there is a broad representation of experiences and influences in each home group and it was fascinating to see how differently people responded to the dream curriculum task.
Next was a chance for participants to meet their school mentors. Unfortunately my mentor was unable to attend but it was an opportunity to grab a much-needed coffee, which definitely perked me up!
At 6 o’clock the entire London cohort squeezed into a lecture theatre for the London region opening ceremony. It was at this point that my tiredness disappeared and I began to feel reinvigorated again. London Field’s Primary School kicked off proceedings with some fabulous a capella singing and some amazing dance moves. We then listened to some incredibly motivating words from our Regional Director Tom Rose. However, the most impressive speaker for me was an A-Level student called Tebian, who addressed 553 participants and their mentors, tutors and recruiters with confidence, poise and insight. Tebian was an inspiration to us all and reminded me that we should never give up because we find something difficult. Tebian showed that great achievement was the product of hard work, which certainly put the shortcomings of my morning in perspective!