Teach First is a shortcut too far

20th November 2009 at 00:00

Recently, a couple of articles on Teach First in The TES have grabbed my attention and made me think about the scheme's value.

I am a science teacher and love working in Hackney, where many Teach First graduates are placed. After graduating from Oxford University in 2006, I considered applying to Teach First but decided against it. Coming from a family that works in the building trade, I appreciate the time it takes to master a skill, and part of that mastery is making something technical look easy. A good teacher can do the same thing.

My father is often employed to repair bodged DIY jobs that people took on after watching a programme in which glam presenters have declared how easy it is to fit kitchens or lay flooring. My concern is that Teach First is to teaching what make-over programmes are to the building trade.

There is a lack of opportunity for recruits to explore pedagogy in enough detail. This is concerning because I know as soon as you step into the classroom the time to explore the complexities of teaching and ideologies are displaced by the more immediate pressures of book marking, lesson planning and dealing with pupils.

Without my PGCE, I would not have really grasped the complexities of teaching and the range of strategies out there to support children's needs.

Katherine Cox, Science teacher, Hackney.

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