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Actuary looking for routes into teaching Math/Physics

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by queenofleghorns, Jan 27, 2019.

  1. queenofleghorns

    queenofleghorns New commenter

    Hello all,

    I am a newbie here, please be kind :)

    Over the last couple of years I was thinking on and off about getting into teaching. I got an MSc in Mathematics, currently working as an actuary. I am interested in teaching Mathematics (or probably Physics, my second passion). I have some (admittedly limited) experience with teaching, but it was back in my home country and with high-ability children only (some of whom went on to win country-level and international math competitions), so it was probably an easy ride.

    I wanted to get some practical experience before I make any decisions, to make sure my glasses are the right shade of rose. Would it be too cheeky for me to write to local secondaries and ask if they can allow me to shadow a teacher in the classroom? I read about placements like this offered to PGCE students, but would it be ok to ask for something similar without yet committing to any particular course of study? I can obviously help out with admin / other boring non-specialised tasks (or maybe donate to the school fund?) in return.

    Also - English is not my first language and I am not exceptionally fluent (with a strong accent and all). Is it something that is likely to be a big problem for Math / Physics teaching?
  2. slstrong123

    slstrong123 New commenter

    You could see if a local secondary school would allow you to visit. Problem is without a full DBS check you have to be with a member of staff and teachers 1st priority is teaching their students. If you are serious about teaching, get in touch with the Teacher Training Agency for advice. Your English will need to be good enough to teach students in your subject and the students will need to be able to fully understand you. Maths and Physics are shortage subjects in parts of the country but schools are still looking for good ideally qualified teachers so you will probably need to do some form of teacher training course (eg PGCE).
  3. sebedina

    sebedina Occasional commenter

    You could do the job of a TA for a while to see how a classroom operates. Teaching is one of the worst jobs at the moment for workload and stress and massive expectations on teachers by schools. Long working hours and lots of marking and meetings.

    Behaviour managing will be the bulk of your work. If you are lucky enough to be in a good school then you will be supported and be able to teach. Otherwise, you will be constantly battling to deal with pupils with a variety of mental or emotional problems or low ability pupils. You may also get pupils who are new to the country and don't speak English. You time table will include a variety of classes so it won't just be the higher level pupils that you will be expected to support.

    Perhaps have a look at some of the forums here before you decide what is right for you. I left permanent teaching a few years ago, and I only do short term work.
  4. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    Not cheeky at all - perfectly normal. To be admitted onto a PGCE course you will probably be required to have some sort of recent experience for spending time in a school. Some applicants may have worked as a TA or similar, but most will be spent a few days volunteering in a local school, just as you are thinking of. Being in a school is really the only way to find out whether teaching might be the right career for you. Hope you are successful in finding somewhere to volunteer!

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