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Teach First teachers aren't 'victims'

Having completed the Teach First programme, I find myself looking back with a great deal of pride at what I achieved and fondness for the young people I taught. It was the hardest thing I have done and the schedule of "get to school at 7.30am, leave at 6pm, quick bite then work till 10pm" ("Spare a thought for Teach First 'victims'", Letters, 4 January) does ring true with me. I was totally exhausted and always knew there was more I should be doing. However, this isn't exclusive to Teach First - friends on the traditional PGCE route often felt the same.

If I went back to 2010 I would apply again without a moment's hesitation. I've met great people, had great opportunities and had the chance to support children from low-income communities to reach their potential. This is the experience of most Teach First teachers, including the majority of those who stay in teaching beyond their two-year minimum commitment.

Most teachers make massive sacrifices. Teach First teachers are smart, committed people. They are not "victims" - they make an informed career choice.

In regard to the Teach First teachers Becky Durston spoke with, I would be fascinated to hear their views once they have completed the Leadership Development Programme. I truly hope that, in spite of the challenges, they will be able to look back with pride at what they achieved for the pupils in their care.

Sam Butterfield, Teach First 2010 cohort.

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