The weblog of a traveller

   Mar 25

Carpe Vitae

Great news on the career front: I am hereby a candidate for Teach First Norway. Teach First is, by their own words, addressing educational disadvantage by transforming exceptional graduates into effective, inspirational teachers and leaders. I am humbled to be one of the exceptional graduates.


The program is not easy to sum up in a sentence, but if I were to do it anyway, it would be something like this: Tricking the best science graduates into teaching for two years by offering great career opportunities afterwards. By forcing them into some of the “worst” schools in town, the pupils in challenged schools also get the chance to be taught by inspired, inspiring people. It is a mix of teaching and being taught, leading high school classes while learning how to do it along the way, intensive leadership schooling, qualification as a lector, seminars in all school holidays, bringing the oomph back into the classroom, and all in all, intense, non-stop leadership development. It will doubtlessly be challenging, but your Marmot is up for a challenge.

There might not be much time to murmle.

The whole thing is a collaboration between schooling authorities and one of the biggest employers in business for science graduates up here; Statoil. The conditions are hard to match – so if you are working towards a MSc you really should look into this.

Teach First is the European branch of Teach For America. It is huge in England with a thousand graduates admitted this year, in all fields. In Norway we are 20, all in science. Last year (which was the first year) they were even fewer. It is, in other words, only beginning, but is already widely celebrated (1, 2) -except for a few voices saying it undermines all the years the teacher students have spent learning to teach. These voices belong to teachers or teacher students. Do they fear the competition?

The screening process deserves a few words due to its sheer volume. We have been sending applications to both the Uni that takes care of the teaching tuition, and to Statoil which organizes the selection of candidates and the leadership tuition. We have been interviewed 3 times by 4 different people, taken IQ, language and personality tests, presented the story of our lives in seven minutes, given a lecture to adults acting as 15-year-olds, presented solutions to tricky classroom dilemmas, and more. It took 5 full months from the first application was sent until the call finally came.

Most of the above tests were conducted during an intensive, full-day assessment. The days since the assessment have been a thrill. The initial confident feeling wore off, giving way to doubts and second thoughts –things I should have mentioned, arguments that were clumsily worded.

It feels superb to know what I’ll be doing in the foreseeable future. That I’ll be helping others to pursue their goals, partaking in an important and very meaningful project, giving back.

Also, it will doubtlessly be good to provide for myself after six years on student loans, small part-time jobs and supportive parents.

This has been my goal for months, and those close to me are probably sick of hearing about it by now. Take this as a huge THANK YOU for being the great, caring, extraordinary individuals that you are.


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One Comment

  1. […] My thesis will be available here. After a short and spectacular break I will move on to teacherhood through the magnificent trainee program Teach First. […]