| Staff Room

Now Teach co-founder, Katie Waldegrave, chats to Ján Michalko, Senior Lead at InHive, about the work Now Teach has been doing to reinvigorate the Now Teach Network... 

Katie Waldegrave

How is Now Teach working to reinvigorate the Network and why now?   

Katie: For me, getting amazing people into teaching and helping them stay there, has always been a means to an end. The end is what’s starting to happen now: Now Teachers bringing all their former skills, experiences and networks to bear on the system. But to do that most effectively they need one another. That’s the hope that we have for the Now Teach Network.   

And the how? We’ve been working with InHive to make sure we had a rigorous thought process behind our work and a real understanding of how networks function. 

Ján: I’d add that you need some time to mature as an organisation and think about who you are before you realise what you can offer people who’ve been through your programme. It’s not something you can start on day one, but you do need to start early on, so it makes perfect sense to me that you’re doing this work now.  

Ján Michalko

And how is InHive helping you to do this?  

Ján: It’s often assumed that networks happen organically. Of course, when people go through the same programme or similar experiences, like career-changing into teaching, relationships are formed. But for these relationships to continue to develop over time, and to thrive, you need to intentionally and purposefully put some components into place, like co-creation. That’s where we come in. We’re an organisation that advises on these components for networks building, with a commitment to equity and social change. 

So, for us, it’s important that we’ve been inclusive of Now Teachers themselves in the process. We’ve helped to set up a Network steering committee for instance, so the process is being guided by Now Teachers.  

Katie: I used to think that the role of Now Teach was to lead the Network. Now, after working with InHive, I can see that if this is going to be impactful and sustainable, it has to be member-led; our job is to carry the burden of administration and so on to make that feasible. 

How have you both found the process of working together?  

Katie: Ján has been a superb critical friend. Often, I would come to our meetings with a new idea I thought had to happen immediately. Jan has been great at slowing us down and saying, where does this fit into your whole vision? He asks the right questions at the right time and really understands the importance of setting things up correctly.  

Ján: For me, the process has been a bit different from my usual projects. InHive has mostly worked with organisations and networks supporting young people and as such, I haven’t always thought about the experiences of people entering the teaching profession in later stages of their careers. Even being called out on issues like ageism – that doesn’t happen to me in my day-to-day other work! So, I’ve really valued that learning experience.  

I’ve also appreciated how much the whole Now Teach team is behind this project. Network building can be either top down or only operational, but for Now Teach it is important for everyone.  

Katie, it’s been five years since Now Teach began, where do you see the Network in another five years’ time?  

Katie: This is where it gets exciting. In five years, our first cohort will have been teaching for ten years. I want them to feel that they’re a force for good in education. Whether that’s a bunch of ex-data management people putting their heads together to think about data in schools, or ex-HR professionals thinking about how school leadership happens, that’s where the real potential lies. I want to see schools coming to Now Teachers to help solve their more intractable problems.  

Ján: InHive works to bring alumni into classrooms to enhance students’ experience and meet some gaps in the teaching process especially with insights into the world of work. With Now Teachers you’ve already got experienced people in the classroom, bringing insight from the world “outside”. I’d love to see that in five years, more and more Now Teachers staying in the profession to impact the education system.  

What’s the one thing a Now Teacher can do to get involved in the Network?   

Katie: Come to our events, and if nothing piques your curiosity, tell us what does and we’ll support you to make it happen! 

Comments are closed.