Joanna Matashi | Teach First

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Joanna Matashi

  • Studied: Biomedical Science, Royal Holloway University

When I applied for the Insight programme I was in my second year at university and had no idea what I wanted to do after my degree, so I applied to gain experience of what teaching is like. To be honest, teaching was at the bottom of my list, but the Graduate Recruitment Officer on my campus convinced me to apply and I went in with the mentality of “seeing how it goes”.

After completing the Insight programme, my perspective of teaching and attitude towards the profession has completely changed. I commend teachers for the work they do and am so inspired to apply for the Leadership Development Programme (LDP).

Insight has prepared me to apply for the LDP in so many ways. I’ve gained knowledge of Teach First and their vision that every child should be entitled to a decent education regardless of their socio-economic background, first-hand experience of independently teaching a class and the opportunity to plan a lesson whilst considering different learning abilities.

I was already familiar with the concept of educational inequality before joining the Insight programme, as I went to what would be termed as a ‘challenged’ school, but I didn’t really understand the depth of the problem until I joined Insight.

My advice to anyone who is planning on joining the Insight programme would be to be as explicit as possible when teaching a lesson, and also to be aware of time management and adapt your lesson plan if time is short or the students aren’t understanding the topic.

If I had to pick one memorable moment from Insight, it would be teaching my first ever Science lesson to a class of year eight students. At the end of the lesson I received a round of applause, followed by a student sharing her excitement about how much she enjoyed the lesson and wanted me to come back and teach. This was a very humbling experience.

Insight has definitely helped me to gain confidence in my skills and abilities and enabled me to combine these with my knowledge and apply this in the classroom. It’s been a great two weeks and I’ve learnt so much. I had the pleasure of being able to hear about students’ aspirations for university and giving them my advice and top tips.

Going into a school made me aware of how high the demand for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths teachers is, and how important it is to raise awareness of the need for these teachers. Students need teachers that are passionate about their subject so that this passion is transferred and the students are encouraged and motivated in their learning. Insight allowed me to see the impact of this and it is amazing how much a teacher can influence students, not only in their learning, but also their aspirations.