behaviour guru Tom Bennett is leading a session on how to assert authority in the classroom. "Your room, your rules," he pronounces. "You're in charge. There are no two ways about it.
"Get your head around it: you're not a tall chum. Accept the fact you're an adult, even if you might not feel it. I bet some of you right now are feeling acute fraud syndrome."
The room fills with the sound of nervous laughter.
"When I started out," Mr Bennett continues, "my heart was brimming with love. Gushing with love. Overflowing. Notice the past tense there.
"Now it brims with something more powerful and enduring. It brims with optimism and a realistic sense of enthusiasm. You mustn't be frivolously optimistic and think, `It's going to be great and these children are going to love me.' They're going to break your heart unless you can manage to create a whisker of distance between you and them."
Sharp intakes of breath can be heard as Mr Bennett regales the recruits with a story about the time he spotted a male student pleasuring himself during a lesson. With deliciously awkward timing, Mr Freedman sidles in at the back of the classroom. A momentarily flustered Mr Bennett mumbles something about "throwing a jacket over it". "Not mine," he hastily points out before returning to more conventional behaviour management strategies.
Excited and nervous
Two weeks ago, Christopher Ruddy graduated from the University of Manchester. Next month, he starts work at Alfreton Grange Arts College, a school in special measures in a former mining town in Derbyshire. "I'd never heard of [Alfreton]," he admits, "but it's not too much of a drive for a geography student." He quickly corrects himself: "A geography teacher."
It was the Teach First mission that appealed to him, he says. "The whole challenge attracted me: being thrown straight in at the deep end; the very specific vision they work towards. I'm from a working-class background so it resonates with me, having benefited from a good state education myself."
Starting out at such a challenging school is a "daunting" prospect, Mr Ruddy says, but he's been impressed with what he's seen so far and can't wait to get started. "It is nerve-wracking, but it's exciting nerves. I'm more excited than nervous, I think.
"The biggest challenge is accepting you're not going to be the best teacher straight away; that constant reflection and knowing you'll be making mistakes, but trying to keep that positive mindset that you will get there."
This summer's event also marks a significant moment in Mr Wigdortz's own journey. The inaugural Teach First Summer Institute in 2002 had a cohort of just 186 graduates, but the programme has evolved rapidly since then.
Today, the trainees receive a week's training in a university setting before spending a total of four weeks in two separate schools, including the one where they will be working. After one more week in a university in the region where they will be based, they all come together for the fortnight-long Summer Institute.
This is a key part of the team-building process, Mr Wigdortz says. "There's a lot of vision setting, which sounds kind of out there, but one of the things we've found is that the most successful teachers in any school are the ones who are very clear where they want their kids to go, and can communicate their vision for the classroom.
"A lot of teachers often feel it's a lonely job, and that once they close the classroom door they are by themselves. One of the things we feel strongly is that the best teachers have a strong support system. It shouldn't be a lonely job, it should be a collaborative job."
Judging by the enthusiastic crowds and sense of shared mission at the First Direct Arena, loneliness is not the recruits' greatest concern.