Can 'teach first' really be doing this?

(312 Posts)
Cathpot Sun 16-Jun-13 21:21:38

In our department at the moment is a very pleasant 21 year old who is on the teach first programme and doing some sort of research project for a week or so. She has a good degree and has signed up to the teach first programme to get into teaching. This summer she will get 6 weeks of training in how to teach, using I think at some point some summer school kids, then in September will be dropped into a difficult school (no choice of where to go) on a 2 year contract.

She is enthusiatic and bright and seems very keen and when I was talking to her I had to kept reminding myself not to look too shocked. She is going to stand up and teach her first proper class to her first proper group of probably very tricky teenagers on her first day in the job. This seems insane to me- how can this be working? How is this ok for her or the kids in her class? I am all for cutting down the college aspect of teacher training and getting students out into schools to work out how to do the job but it seem self evident that the PGCE year is essential to producing teachers who won't get eaten alive in tricky class rooms. She told me some schools have as many as 5 teachers from teach first at any one time and that if they dont stay on at the end of 2 years they just replace them with a new one. I can't really get past how insane this seems as an idea.

mummytime Sun 16-Jun-13 21:27:08

It has been going on for years. A friends DD is doing it, and seems to be enjoying it. However I'm not sure how it really works, or how good he teaching is at first.

AViewFromTheFridge Sun 16-Jun-13 21:31:07

One of my friends did it 6/7 years ago and is now a very successful HOD. I think it's aimed at top graduates only and combines some business/ management training, too.

The scheme started in America and aims to narrow the gap - making sure deprived schools get really good teachers/ graduates.

MaureenMLove Sun 16-Jun-13 21:35:17

We've had several Teach First teachers over the last 5 years and every one of them have been very, very good.

They have so much training and mentoring over the course of their Teach First year too. They have 5 full 'subject days' and a two week placement at another school, plus several visits throughout the year from their external mentors, not to mention regular meetings with their internal mentors.

Everyone one of our Teach First teachers have stayed with us for their NQT year and are amongst the best of the teaching staff. It's not an easy school either.

I think Teach First is great.

Cathpot Sun 16-Jun-13 21:36:48

She also said she wanted to be a geography teacher but they wanted her to be an English teacher as she had an English A level. She said no to that so they have compromised on her being a science teacher. I think I was just staring gormlessly at her by this point.

Arisbottle Sun 16-Jun-13 21:38:31

I was a teach first teacher, I guess it depends on where you are placed. I felt my training was very good.

Cathpot Sun 16-Jun-13 21:40:22

Well at least that's positive Maureen, I like her and it just sounded like she was going to be thrown in to sink or swim. Also I think I am feeling over sensitive about our profession and how under valued it is at the moment.

Cathpot Sun 16-Jun-13 21:44:00

Arisbottle- can I ask if you are still in teaching? Did you get any hands on teaching before you started work?

Arisbottle Sun 16-Jun-13 21:47:24

Yes, am still a teacher.

My friend's son is doing this. He is oxford educated, in a difficult school, and is a bloody natural. Any parent of a child in a difficult school should be thankful for the day he turned up to teach.

Arisbottle Sun 16-Jun-13 21:52:15

I am not sure that any child should be grateful that I turned up, smacks of the poor kids doffing their caps. However I think I do a good job.

I said thankful. Not grateful.

Arisbottle Sun 16-Jun-13 21:58:59

I also don't expect thanks to be honest, just doing my job. Lots of other people could do it as well and a fair few could do it better.

As you were.

Cathpot Sun 16-Jun-13 22:04:50

Maybe teach first are picking their graduates better in terms of personality as the last two pgce students we have had through have not had a personality between them let alone one robust enough for teaching. I just kept thinking about how much I learnt in that year of training about the sort of teacher I wanted to be, what strategies worked for me, where the holes/ misconceptions were in my knowledge, and I am glad I had that time. I was still on a massive learning curve in my first couple of years but I was better than I would have been without the training.

EvilTwins Mon 17-Jun-13 18:31:11

I did my PGCE straight from university and started teaching 2 weeks after my 22nd birthday. I did my training in 1996/7 so no NQT year, just straight in. I learned far more in that first year

EvilTwins Mon 17-Jun-13 18:32:30

of proper teaching than in my PGCE year, and have continued to learn in the intervening years. As long as the graduate is willing to learn and to work hard, I'm not convicted Teach First is any worse than other ITTC.

freerangeeggs Mon 17-Jun-13 19:55:20

This is a different programme, but I recently met a Schools Direct 'trainee'. He had had literally no training AT ALL in his first year. The 'outstanding' inner city academy he was placed in just chose not to provide it, and nobody followed it up. I shit you not. Full timetable from day one. I'd like to see that happen in a middle class area.

That is shocking freerange.

CatherineofMumbles Mon 17-Jun-13 20:09:48

I know two TF people who were excellent, did very well at a failing comp, which improved over the years they were there. After a few years they moved on, but the school and the pupils certainly got god value out of them. both are now HODs , one of them in a leading London indie.
September will be the first cohort of School Drect, so there cannot have been a School Direct person without training since they don't yet exist. (And in any case with School Direct, schools will work in partnership with a university,)

It sounds similar to GTP but traditionally GTP candidates were often older. I did a PGCE at 21 and could not have survived with less training. It's not that the quality of the training was brilliant (2 weeks before we qualified - oh yeah there's this thing they're rolling out called the National Literacy Strategy' angry) but I definitely needed the slow 'easing in'. Even then there were some days during my NQT year I found myself fantasising about being slightly hit by a bus.

I did eventually morph into a good teacher, honest!

yabyum Mon 17-Jun-13 20:16:41

Last September was the first 'pilot' cohort of School Direct, so it is possible that freerangeeggs met a poorly supported SD trainee. It wouldn't surprise me - ill-conceived, rushed programme which is meant to be 'school led' - which is fine if the school knows what it is doing, and is capable of providing excellent ITE without a University holding its hand every step of the way...

Oh, and Teach First's training is all provided by University partners, not by Teach First itself.

AmIGoingMad Mon 17-Jun-13 20:23:19

I did the gtp at age 24 and was literally dropped in at the deep end, no training and teaching classes on my own from day one. The year went really well though and almost a decade later I'm still teaching and doing a decent job I reckon! They dropped the age limit then on the Gtp and we had one girl straight out of uni- she was fantastic and we were very lucky to have her. Things had changed by that point though and she shadowed first before taking in more responsibility.

I'd say that like with any career/job it'll depend in the individual.

spudmasher Mon 17-Jun-13 20:33:07

It's hard work for everyone to have a TF candidate in a Primary School.
I don't think it works as well as in Secondary School.

TwasBrillig Mon 17-Jun-13 20:44:02

I was employed to teach 6th form straight from oxbridge. No training. After my first term Iwent on the city and guilds course but that was quite basic. Later did a distance pgce that accredited prior teaching. . So I've never really been taught!

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