Aside from our Top Companies To Work For rankings, we tend not to explicitly draw attention to particular employers, but very few employers are as commendable -both in their purpose and in the experience that they give their employees – as Teach First, the charity focused on addressing educational disadvantage by placing and training exceptional graduates to be exceptional teachers.
There is no question that Teach First’s goal is admirable. Educational disadvantage and inequality is a huge problem in the UK. Just 16% of pupils who are eligible for free school meals progress to university, in comparison to 96% of young people educated in independent schools. At the same time, just 10% of all teachers would consider teaching in a school in challenging circumstances. All of Teach First’s teachers are placed in schools in challenging circumstances.
What we think is even more remarkable though is the fact that Teach First pursues it’s goals while providing the 1,000+ graduates it takes on each year with a truly outstanding experience in terms of employment satisfaction. Teach First were ranked the 5th best employer for graduates to work for in 2011, gaining particularly high scores for Career Progression (9.5/10), Responsibility (9.3/10) and Enjoyment (9.1/10). Review after review that we receive from Teach First graduates nationwide shower praise on the experience. Indeed it was a recent review from a graduate on the scheme that got us thinking about just how great an initiative this scheme is:
“This is the best start to my career I could have” our reviewer wrote, “I have matured so much in the last 6 months and am so passionate about what I do that I could not envisage myself doing anything else for the time being. It is hard, granted, but the rewards of working with amazing children whose background is often shrouded in deprivation far outweigh the challenges.”
As we took a look through all of our Teach First reviews, we quickly saw that the message was the same from almost every respondent. In fact, just reading the reviews is a rewarding experience which brings a smile to our faces. Another recently received submission reads:
“The best thing is the kids. The students are absolutely amazing. They make me laugh, from my belly, every single day without fail. Even when I feel like I’m having a bad day, one or more kids will always do something wonderful and that makes up for it. You visit lots of schools as part of Teach First so I know it’s not just my kids! Seeing kids progress and get better, or make connections, or say things like “I actually like English” is incredibly moving”
Yes, there are sacrifices to be made by joining the scheme as opposed to some other graduate jobs out there – most notably salary (£17,000 – £19,000 average but depends on location) and work/life balance (4.8/10 average rating) but the rewards in terms of overall job satisfaction are arguably unrivalled and a remarkable 90% of graduates on the scheme stay for a minimum of two years and over 50% stay longer.
The fact that all of this can be achieved while making a real difference to children’s lives and thus improving all of our futures is just fantastic. It is rare that such win-wins exist and Teach First deserves to be widely praised.
You can read all our Teach First reviews in full and find out more about Teach First careers here.