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Can i teach a-level maths with an economics degree?

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by jdthedj101, Feb 13, 2011.

  1. Hi

    Im currently in my first year at university, studying economics. I have been considering a wide range of careers, and have looked at teaching.
    With only 2 places doing an economics pgce, i decided to look at maths instead. But will i be able to do a maths pgce in order to teach it? Im looking at teaching secondary level, with an eventual aim to teach a-level.
    The degree requirement is a mathematics degree, or a degree with a high maths content. I intend to study the more mathematical side of economics (econometrics, dynamic modelling) next year, and i may be changing my degree to economics and econometrics, in order to take more mathematical content.

    But will this be enough?I just dont know where to start, or who to ask or anything..

    Theres loads of threads like this, but i just really want some help.
  2. blue117

    blue117 New commenter

    My understanding is as degrees vary so much in content, the individual degree is looked at for its mathematical content by the PGCE overseeing board at the uni (I assume they take the advice of the PGCE maths co-ordinator). If there is not enough maths then you will be asked to do a Subject Enhancement course (6 months? it varies)

    Bad news is that even if you ask the maths PGCE co-ordinator at your uni this year if you have enough maths in your degree, it may have changed in 2 yrs time or you may wish to train elsewhere, and so it is hard to predict.

    There are a lot of untrained people teaching maths - PE teachers are quite common as maths teachers, geographers etc.

    Got to answer the question, why not do a maths degree if you love maths? If you don't love maths, why teach it?
  3. Because our school had us apply for ucas in septmeber. Dont get me wrong i enjoy economics. But over the course of my final year at sixth form, i swayed more to maths. If i would have had the chance to apply again, i probably would have picked maths.
  4. In the consultative bodies there seems to be a general cautious move towards PQA now.
    That is the idea that university applications will be done after you do your A-levels.....
    It's just taking time as it will require big changes in the exam marking infrastructure and admissions systems and if it's not properly consulted and planned for it'll go disasterously wrong.
    It wasn't possible before as the new systems will pull very heavily on ICT.
    I'm guessing ten years from now?
  5. Couple of points.
    The content of your degree matters only to those deciding on whether they offer you a place. The guidelines are merely suggested by the TDA. 0% maths can = maths trainee on teacher training course if the provider deem them suitable.
    When you state "there are a lot of untrained people teaching maths...."
    What do you class as 'trained'?
  6. Agree totally with Betamale. As we discussed on another thread, people who do not hold maths degrees can often bring a great deal to a department. Agree too that it would be down to convincing the training provider you opt for. Certainly doing some econometrics would strengthen your hand but really, choose the things you enjoy most for your degree, you'll get more out of it that way.
  7. For sure.
    I know I would prefer a teacher who is passionate, constantly updating knowledge and is very well read rather than someone who got a 2.2 in maths 20 years ago and not touched it since [​IMG]
  8. blue117

    blue117 New commenter

    I too would only want, for my own child or for my department, someone who is passionate about maths, which as I implied to the initial poster tends to be someone with a maths background. This is a question s/he will have to face at PGCE interview and at job interviews.
    Even having supported some good non-specialists in the past, I'd sooner employ a specialist maths teacher. If one of my team had been on no maths-teaching-related courses for a long time, that would be a reflection on the HoD and the school.
  9. It's obviously going to vary from school to school and area to area but for my school (quite a nice comp in an lovely city, so not a bad prospect on any account) it's becoming increasingly hard to recruit and retain staff, let alone insisting on them having a maths degree.

    I do have a maths background, which I've found useful and have always been delighted to help colleagues who struggle with the finer points of the subject. I still maintain that non-specialists can bring a great deal to a department. One of our best teachers was a mature entrant, having worked in industry, done a business degree, then a maths conversion.

    She would freely admit to having struggled with maths when at school but her knowledge was first rate. She had a real knack for bonding with C/D borderline groups because I think she could really empathise with those who were struggling. As someone who never struggled with any aspect of maths, this took me quite some time to get the hang of, and I've seen other maths grads have the same problem.

    Having someone with experience from industry was fantastic, she often brought a welcome breath of fresh air and sanity to what can be a really quite unreal world of education.
  10. I think every school would love 'maths specialists' but in all reality so so many schools dont need people who can't teach.
    Many people have degrees in maths whould simply not be teaching.
    ADVANCED subect knowledge applies to such a small sector of secondary education that teachers are needed, if thats means one with a degree then great. If it means someone who can service a maths department in a school with 40% A*-C who can stand and control, inspire and direct pupils then its a no brainer.
    A maths degree has limited correlation to delivering the majority of KS3/KS4 lessons effecitively and to discount teachers who dont have a maths degree is resulting in many great great teachers being lost.
    If you aim for 80%+ A*-C in maths offer A level and further with Oxbridge candidates who requiring teaching then the balance shifts towards subject knowledge.
    In rural or urban schools where behaviour, attainment and aspirations are low a teacher is needed regardless of background


  11. Agree totally. Thank-you to Betamale for putting across rather more eloquently what I was trying to say! In a fair number of schools I would say that a teacher having good teaching skills and being able to control a key and over-rides much of any advantage of having a maths degree. I'm not for a minute suggesting that subject knowledge doesn't matter but it's certainly not the only factor.
  12. Yes. I find many who don't welcome such 'non specialist' teachers are those who fear (i) The reputation of the professional status or (ii) the safety of their own job.
    When tomorrow comes I would have taught 21 hours this week
    2 lessons have been post 16, all of that C1/C2 (which is what most 35 year old + people did in GCSEs)
    10 have been GCSE foundation where I just about managed to drag out 5 squared = 25 from my good kids
    8 lessons KS3 where the word 'oblong' was used along with 2 remained 2 was given when I asked what £10 split between 4 people was
    2 Lessons have been glorified crowd control of y10s who simply cannot add a single digit and double digit number.
    What I have done though is motivated, controlled, created stability, directed and made a safe, progressive learning environment for around 200 kids who might have ripped one of many supply teachers to bits.
    Now does a graduate have to be in place to do that? seriously? Perhaps the 2 hours of A level but 2/21 hours is a small amount.
    We, as a profession need to embrace teachers who get results and change lives. For some schools that is a specialist. For many schools or sections of a timetable we can factor in good people to create stability and enhance learning.
    IME, in general there are 5 types of teachers
    <ol>[*]Great teachers/Great Qualifications[*]Average to Poor Teachers/Great Qualifcations[*]Great Teachers/Non specialist qualifications on paper (who may be very very able mathematicians)[*]Average to Poor Teachers/Average to poor qualifications who slip through the net or have been kicking around the school system too long to get rid of[*]Supply/Cover (who may or may not be able to teach and/or care)</ol> These are the A*-C GCSE results in a local area to me. Which teachers do you think we should have in these schools? IMO, again FWIW its teachers 1 and 3 yet many have all 5 types whilst keeping out number 3s through fear of having a 'non specialist'.
    Every school wants type 1 teachers but until there is a nice flow of them, lets move education on and utilise the people who want to be there to better the kids and themselves
    <table class="dfTmgSchoolsResults01"><tr><th>School name</th><th> </th><th>Inc Eng
    & Maths</th><th>All
    points</th></tr><tr><td>Jamiatul Ummah&dagger;, E1 2ND</td><td> </td><td>80%</td><td>95%</td><td>NA</td><td>NA</td><td>355.0</td></tr><tr><td>Madani Secondary Girls'&dagger;, E1 1HL</td><td> </td><td>76%</td><td>86%</td><td>NA</td><td>NA</td><td>472.9</td></tr><tr><td>London East Academy&dagger;, E1 1JX</td><td> </td><td>70%</td><td>100%</td><td>NA</td><td>NA</td><td>446.0</td></tr><tr><td>London Islamic&dagger;, E1 2HX</td><td> </td><td>62%</td><td>77%</td><td>NA</td><td>NA</td><td>355.2</td></tr><tr><td>Mulberry for Girls, E1 2JP</td><td> </td><td>57%</td><td>69%</td><td>82%</td><td>66%</td><td>420.4</td></tr><tr><td>Bishop Challoner Catholic Collegiate Girls, E1 0EB</td><td> </td><td>56%</td><td>80%</td><td>62%</td><td>61%</td><td>476.1</td></tr><tr><td>Sir John Cass Foundation and Redcoat Church of England Secondary, E1 0RH</td><td> </td><td>55%</td><td>100%</td><td>75%</td><td>69%</td><td>511.9</td></tr><tr><td>Stepney Green Mathematics and Computing College, E1 4SD</td><td> </td><td>55%</td><td>68%</td><td>76%</td><td>70%</td><td>458.7</td></tr><tr><td>Oaklands, E2 6PR</td><td> </td><td>50%</td><td>80%</td><td>76%</td><td>70%</td><td>422.5</td></tr><tr><td>Central Foundation Girls', E3 2AT</td><td> </td><td>47%</td><td>70%</td><td>67%</td><td>53%</td><td>400.1</td></tr><tr><td>Morpeth, E2 0PX</td><td> </td><td>47%</td><td>60%</td><td>67%</td><td>66%</td><td>385.5</td></tr><tr><td>Swanlea, E1 5DJ</td><td> </td><td>46%</td><td>75%</td><td>60%</td><td>56%</td><td>437.4</td></tr><tr><td>Langdon Park Community, E14 0RZ</td><td> </td><td>46%</td><td>60%</td><td>71%</td><td>54%</td><td>390.7</td></tr><tr><td>George Green's, E14 3DW</td><td> </td><td>45%</td><td>50%</td><td>46%</td><td>57%</td><td>366.7</td></tr><tr><td>Raine's Foundation, E2 9LY</td><td> </td><td>44%</td><td>68%</td><td>59%</td><td>50%</td><td>399.8</td></tr><tr><td>Bishop Challoner Catholic Collegiate Boys, E1 0EB</td><td> </td><td>41%</td><td>99%</td><td>36%</td><td>47%</td><td>453.1</td></tr><tr><td>Bethnal Green Technology College, E2 6NW</td><td> </td><td>39%</td><td>51%</td><td>60%</td><td>69%</td><td>322.3</td></tr><tr><td>Bow of Maths and Computing, E3 2QD</td><td> </td><td>38%</td><td>53%</td><td>74%</td><td>55%</td><td>348.2</td></tr><tr><td>St Paul's Way Community, E3 4AN</td><td> </td><td>29%</td><td>38%</td><td>48%</td><td>50%</td><td>288.5</td></tr><tr><td>Mazahirul Uloom&dagger;, E1 1EJ</td><td> </td><td>28%</td><td>28%</td><td>NA</td><td>NA</td><td>274.6</td></tr><tr><td>Darul Hadis Latifiah&dagger;, E2 0HW</td><td> </td><td>NA</td><td>NA</td><td>NA</td><td>NA</td><td>NA</td></tr><tr><td>Beatrice Tate*, E2 9RW</td><td> </td><td>NA</td><td>NA</td><td>NA</td><td>NA</td><td>NA</td></tr><tr><td>Bowden House*, BN25 2JB</td><td> </td><td>NA</td><td>NA</td><td>NA</td><td>NA</td><td>NA</td></tr><tr><td>Ian Mikardo*, E3 3LF</td><td> </td><td>NA</td><td>NA</td><td>NA</td><td>NA</td><td>NA</td></tr><tr><td>Phoenix*, E3 2AD</td><td> </td><td>NA</td><td>NA</td><td>NA</td><td>NA</td><td>NA</td></tr></table>

  13. HI ,
    I did a PGCE in maths and I have a degree in economics. I didn't do econometrics or dynamic modelling and on the face of it I would not have been allowed to do PGCE in maths but for the fact that I had been a chartered accountant for X years, so my arithmatic was up to scratch! The 6 month enhancement course was not necessary, though I did find a 2 week booster very useful as many terms and methods have changed since I was at school!
    Where there's a will there's a way. Ring round the PGCE providers, that you are interested in, and ask them as they all have some sort of flexibility. The 6 month enhancement courses are well worth doing (according to my fellow NQTs who did do it), so don't see it as an issue if the training provider insists on it.
  14. Several of my colleagues are maths teachers with economics degrees, including our head of department. It's fairly common.

    Choosing to study the more mathematical side of economics is probably a good idea, but also make sure that you get as much experience as possible of working with young people in schools and other contexts.
  15. Agree entirely with Betamale on Teachers Type 1 and 3 being the way to go and the description you give of a working week will be familiar to many, perhaps with a few more 'crowd control' lessons thrown in for good measure. Crowd control doesn't necessarily mean poor lessons, just ones where very strict behaviour management is the order of the day together with being able to motivate very unmotivated pupils is the most important quality required. Knowledge of the finer points of degree level maths count for little when stood in-front of 30 streetwise youngsters, many still suffering from whatever substances took their fancy the previous night.

    To get back to the original question, yes, go for it with the Economics degree!

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