GIOVANNI RUSSILLO

I applied for the Teach First Leadership Programme at the end of 2016. And I had no idea about what I was actually going to experience. Prior to Teach First my career was progressing well in one of the biggest companies in the world, I had absolutely no experience in teaching or dealing with large groups of children, and I would have to do all this in a language that was not my own, in schools that were struggling. My friends and family, whilst very supportive, were all quite shocked when I mentioned that this was what I wanted to do. I understood their shock. However I am very happy that I made the choice I did.

I now work in a small primary school in East London and finishing a Post Graduate Diploma in Education at the Institute of Education of UCL.  

I have a master’s degree in economics from Bocconi University in Milan and after graduating I had been working for Amazon for three years, growing into different roles in both Luxembourg and Spain. While I enjoyed a very stimulating working environment with great colleagues, each morning I would wake up feeling that I wasn’t doing something that mattered to me. Yes, the projects were interesting, but was I truly making the impact I wanted to on the world? I needed a job that, whilst still being stimulating and challenging, would give me more meaning.

I firmly believe that Education is a universal right and the only path to creating a better world. By making sure that everyone has access to high quality education we can equip future generations with the tools necessary to solve our biggest challenges and improve our society. Teach First provides amazing teacher training to very skilled, capable and motivated people, and then places them in schools most in need of support. Their model is simple but smart, filling two complementary needs: on one side allowing motivated people to change their career and start a new path within the education sector, and on the other side supporting schools in need.

Being Italian I cannot wait to see a similar concept applied in Italy. I believe this could be the chance for Italy to start catching up with the most advanced education systems and ignite a process of growth that has been missing for too long.

It is not easy to work as a teacher in a deprived area, to study at master level in a top university and learn every day on the job. You are constantly challenged, tested and stretched. These last two years have been some of the most intense of my life. But they are also the ones in which I have learnt, grown and matured the most. You will see that each of your action has an impact. Every day. Every moment. If you like challenges, want to make a difference and believe that every child should have the same chances in life, then this programme is for you. It will be hard, but 100% worth it.