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Olly Offord (’09) Ambassador
Studied Economics, Durham
Now Maths teacher, Doncaster
The first few weeks of the Summer Institute are massively exciting. There’s all these new people and you’re all there for the same thing and you’re all doing something completely new. It was really overwhelming and you wanted to stand back at first but actually when you dived into it was just so much fun.
We thought we were learning how to teach, but it was about all these other skills; how to talk to people, how to put your ideas across and then, inevitably, how to manage behaviour in a classroom.
I think one of the issues with my first day was I wanted to be so rigid. I was every minute by minute and so when a kid goes “Actually, I don’t understand that, Sir. I don’t get it,” you’re a bit like “Oh dear. I’ve entirely anticipated you getting this.” So you have to throw the whole lesson plan out the window and completely readjust to what they need.
There was a TV show on Channel 4, ‘Jamie’s Dream School’, and at the end of it said, “If you think you have an idea about how you can teach a tough topic, put it up on YouTube and we’ll have a competition.” So I made a video with Pythagoras and the diagonal across a TV screen. I put it up, trying to be as clear and concise as possible, and I ended up winning the Maths category. It’s been incredibly exciting, the last few months. The school won some money, I won some money and then we also got a trip to Google HQ in London. We got to take a few kids to Google and they were so excited. I was really excited. It was a great day.
I think the bits that I’m most proud of are the Year 11s going into their exam and feeling nervous but feeling prepared, then they come out a few months later with their results and they’ve done better than they expected. That’s amazing, when they better what they think they’re capable of. And when you see that every day in the years below, from Year 7 all the way through to Year 11, when they’re achieving things that they didn’t think they would, they’d say “Oh Sir, this is actually really easy”, and I’d reply “Yes, it’s easy!”
Recruitment & Selection
Are you the kind of person who could make an impact in one of Teach First’s partner schools? You’ll need bright ideas, gritty determination, awesome communication skills and the confidence to stand up in front of 30 pupils, engage their attention, deflect their jibes and lead them on a journey. It’s a big ask.
At the heart of Teach First is a unique two-year Leadership Development Programme. Challenging, stimulating and practical, it has been designed to develop your leadership skills, giving you the ability to adapt to new or changing situation and inspire enthusiasm and ambition in the classroom.
As a Teach First Ambassador you will be part of a network like no other – a group of influential leaders in education, policy, business and the third sector, united by shared experience, benefiting from its ongoing support and contributing to its mission.