Running for Education Equality with Teach First

Running is so often a selfish act. We run for ourselves- our fitness, our mental health, and to improve our speed or endurance. In some ways, I like that aspect of running. Having only myself to rely on for accountability- and being able to do something simply because I want to- is refreshing.

But maybe I've spent too long running for only myself. After all, there are countless stories of people running to improve the lives of others. It's about time I've said "count me in."

On Sunday October, 8th I'll be able to say that I've run for someone (and something) other than myself. As I run around and through the Royal Parks of London, I'll be sporting a Teach First running top, and doing my part to combat educational inequality.

Inequality is something that's at the crux of what I study. Understanding, problematizing, and ultimately attempting to find a solution to inequality is imperative to the study of Sociology. It underpins almost every reading I do, every research project I undertake, and every sociological problem I address. Of course, there are exceptions; but believe me when I say that inequality matters a lot to us sociologists.

Education is one of the driving forces in achieving upward social mobility. Through the fostering of high quality education, I believe that we can diminish inequality in its many forms. But the greatest challenge of all? All education isn't necessarily made equal for all pupils.

In short, children from lower income families are less likely to achieve in school (and later on in life) regardless of their initial intellectual advantage. This means that children from economically disadvantaged families are not only less likely to succeed at a high level later on in life, but they are also less likely to be happy and live long lives.

Educational success shouldn't be limited by how much money someone's family makes. That's why providing free, accessible, high-quality education is so important. Teach First makes this possible.

But the truth of the matter is, I don't have a harrowing personal story to share. I grew up in an economically stable household, where I always had what I needed. But I also grew up in a family where education was greatly valued. And I was lucky enough that I went to a public (state) school where the academics were rigorous and the teachers cared about our success.

Teachers are such a crucial piece of the puzzle to fighting education inequality. In fact, they make all the difference. I think of all the teachers who have impacted my life. My 5th Grade English teacher who helped me gain confidence, writing in my yearbook that she would "see me on the best seller list" for my writing. My 6th grade teachers who taught me to combine the skills I learned in Math, Science, English and History all into one project, and it ended up being the most valuable thing I did all year. And my many high school Spanish teachers who taught me that the best way to learn a language was often through song.

Teach First recruits only the most skillful candidates to fill their classrooms in lower income areas, meaning bright minds can make their way to the places that need it most. By recruiting and training the best of the best, Teach First can create an engaging educational environment that inspires students to succeed.

Despite my own socioeconomic privilege, I want to fight for better education- and a better life- for others. I hope one day to be involved in the field of education in one way or another- whether that's as a teacher, a principal, or someone behind the scenes working on education policy. Because no matter your wealth, your gender, your race, or where you grew up, education is the one thing that continues to move people forward. And having that high quality education is a right, not a privilege.

So help me reach my goal of raising £400 for Teach First. Whether you contribute £/$1 or £/$10, know that your donation is helping a worthy cause. Anything and everything is appreciated.

You can donate here. And you can read more about Teach First, their goals, and their work, here.

I'll be sure to post more training updates when and where I can. But in the meantime, please share my Just Giving page to get the word out!  

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