Making Positive Change Through Osmosis: Why You Should Share Your Knowledge, Make a Difference and Become a Fellow

By James Morris

ATT Institute ECF Fellow

Despite what we are told in the press and on social media, working in education is not about the holidays, the pay or the fictional 3:30pm finish time. Those of us privileged to work in the world of education know that we are all motivated by the same core purpose: to make a positive difference to as many young people’s lives as possible. 


When I started teaching, I thought the only way I could do that was to work with the students in front of me, those in my direct care, be it as a teacher, a form tutor, a head of year or senior leader. I mean that would make sense, I am working directly with these students, giving them my time, whether through sharing my passion for my subject, having a ‘supportive chat’, giving a ‘pep talk’ or telling the odd story. Of course, these things unquestionably impact those that you work with closely or those to whom you say ‘good morning’ to in the corridor and ask them how they are in a passing conversation. You see this first hand, on results day, following a difficult time for a student, in a smile or a thank you. For many of us, this lights the fire inside of us to keep going in what can sometimes be a very difficult job.  


However, as my career has progressed, my perception of how I can impact young people’s lives started to change. I began to realise that by working, coaching and supporting staff to improve their practice and become the best versions of themselves I was indirectly affecting students. I remember working with an MFL ECT who was having difficulty managing behaviour in the classroom. Over time, working with the member of staff through observations and feedback, coaching and modelling, not only did I see their confidence grow (which had a positive impact on their lessons) I saw the students starting to engage and overtime begin to really enjoy the inspiring lessons the teacher was delivering and respect the clear expectations of the lesson. Whilst I did not work directly with the students, by working with the member of staff I indirectly impacted the students. I started to realise it wasn’t just about those students I worked closely with or taught, it was about all the students that sit in front of all the members of staff I worked with, coached, mentored or supported to become a better teacher.  


It was this realisation that led me down the exciting path of becoming a Fellow.  

Being a facilitator allows me to share my passion, experiences and knowledge with many ambitious teachers and leaders who take this back into their own schools who then affect the students they work with, and at the level of NPQ I facilitate, also support the staff they work with. So, you go from changing the lives of the students in front of you to changing the lives of students from many different schools across the country through those members of staff you work with.  


I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as a facilitator, getting to meet new colleagues, working closely with them, getting to know them, sharing problems and finding joint solutions. The biggest reward for me, however, is watching them as leaders grow in confidence, share the stories of elements they have learnt from the course and taken back into their settings and how they have successfully implemented change or adapted their practice to have a positive outcome. 


Throughout my time as a fellow, I have also been really closely supported by ATT and my fellow facilitators, meeting regularly to discuss barriers they have found within the course or best practice, allowing me to grow as a facilitator and continually improve my practice.  


So, I entered education to positively impact as many young people’s lives as I could. I have been lucky enough to work in a number of schools but even in the largest schools I was only impacting a few hundred students. Now, through being a facilitator and by some sort of information osmosis, I am positively impacting thousands through the staff I have worked with whilst also having the direct influence on those within my own school. What a way to achieve your aspirations and fulfil the reason you chose to enter the world of education.  

Become an ATTI Fellow: Apply Now!

Applications are now open for our Fellowships. As an ATTI Fellow, you can support the delivery of a range of exciting programmes, including brand new NPQs, our innovative Initial Teaching Training in partnership with Ambition Institute, and the hugely rewarding Early Career Framework.

Interested? Fill out an application today. Applications close on 24 May 2024.