Teach First made me a better engineer

Physics graduate and Teach First Ambassador John, taught science on Teach First’s  Training Programme before spending four years in aerospace engineering at Rolls-Royce. Now completing his PhD and working on two planetary science missions, John continues to support Teach First as a mentor. 

Image of man writing to chalkboard. Click here to read the blogWhat’s been rewarding about your experience with Teach First?

“As any Teach First trainee will tell you, making progress with classes – particularly the challenging ones – is one of the most rewarding parts of the job. I’m most proud of teaching two Year 10 classes who were initially a tough bunch but ended up self-motivated, eventually running parts of the lesson themselves. My colleagues in the science department, a supportive school, mentors and tutors and the camaraderie in the Teach First cohort all added up.

After the programme I worked at Rolls-Royce in various aerospace engineering roles in the UK, Canada and Singapore. One of the highlights was working on the development of the company’s latest jet engine, the Trent XWB, and seeing it come to life and fly for the first time. My experience on the Training Programme made me a better engineer: You can apply almost every aspect of lesson planning to presentation and meeting planning. And you have a wide range of experience to draw upon to get the best out of your working relationships.”

Where are you now career-wise?

“I’m now at Imperial College working on two planetary science missions called InSight and Mars 2020 while completing a postgraduate degree. Although I’m no longer teaching, I mentor students in Teach First schools who are applying to university for the first time.”

What’s the best thing you’ve taken away from the Training Programme?

“If you choose to leave the classroom after finishing the Training Programme, interviewers will ask you about Teach First and it allows you to give highly specific examples of times when you have had a personal impact. And you’ll call upon many of the skills developed as a teacher at unexpected times during your career. Aeronautical engineering gives you technical skills but this programme gives you the ability to work with people.”

The King’s Careers Take: John highlights really well about how he applied skills from teaching to his professional life as an engineer. It’s great to see how our knowledge, attributes, skills and experiences are all transferable within our larger career jouneys, no matter where we go next. 

If you, like John, want to help inspire the next generation of scientists, apply for the Teach First Training Programme Here.