Case study

Teach First — Soumia Karla Arif

Soumia studied geography at King's College London before rising to the challenge of Teach First. Discover how the programme is helping Soumia fulfil her career ambitions

Why did you choose Teach First?

I love geography and have always been keen to share this passion, as well as raising awareness about the world in which we live and the challenges and opportunities we are likely to face in the future. Teaching has always been a career that I recognised and appreciated as serving this personal objective.

When I considered routes into teaching, I attended a few graduate recruitment events and met representatives from Initial Teacher Training providers as well as Teach First. The challenge of Teach First appealed to me - I was really keen to get into the classroom, so I applied.

What does Teach First involve?

Teach First takes place over a two-year period. In the first, you gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), and in the second you complete your Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) induction. You are placed in the school where you will teach for the duration of your Teach First journey - and beyond, if you choose to.

Across the two years you will complete a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) at a partner university. This equates to 120 credits of a Masters qualification, which gives you the option to complete the remaining credits to obtain an MA.

How did you apply?

I applied online after attending a graduate recruitment event, where I met Teach First representatives and asked them any questions I had about the application process.

What do you enjoy most about the job?

My students are the highlight of every day. They remind me of why I love what I do and why I do it. Their inquisitive approach to learning keeps me enthused, and means that I learn something new each day too.

Are there any challenges?

My students are also my greatest challenge. Whether they are challenging my behaviour management or refusing to complete a task, I have grown more confident in how I approach such situations and maintain a positive environment for learning and progress.

What are your career ambitions?

I would love to take what I have learnt about education and leadership so far and apply this to informal educational settings, such as teaching refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people. This would link my degree specialism in geopolitics, territory and security to my experience in education.

My greatest ambition is to use these experiences to contribute to policy making on issues that I feel so passionately about.

Do you have any advice for those considering Teach First?

Read up on the programme and be informed. Find your reason 'why' - why you have chosen to embark on your own Teach First journey. Whether it is your love for your subject, a passion for teaching or a drive to create social change, discover what your motivation is and hold on to it. Your 'why' will keep you committed when times become challenging, and make the job all the more satisfying when things are going well!

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