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Changing Subject

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by Deirds, Feb 3, 2011.

  1. Deirds

    Deirds Senior commenter

    Hi all. I'm wondering if a change of subject is possible. I used to teach RE but have spent the last few years looking after my children. On and off over the last 19 years I have been studying Physics and Maths courses with the Open University. I was wondering how realistic my chances would be if I applied for a job teaching Maths to KS3/4? Obviously schools would prefer Maths graduates/specalists but is there really a shortage of teachers?
  2. googolplex

    googolplex Occasional commenter

    I changed subject to maths many years ago. The opportunity came from within the school. I think you'd be hard pushed to apply for maths jobs without experience. Your plan could be to play a patient game, get an RE job, and then actively seek second subject experience within that school, and develop from there. Alternatively, you could look for some one-to-one tuition experience initially. However, as HOD making an appointment, even considering you with 121 tuition experience, I wouldn't look at appointing a teacher with no classroom experience unless I there was no other realistic choice. I still think there is a shortage of maths specialists in our area. You may get lucky but only in really needy schools...
  3. I understand totally what googolplex is saying but I'd be a bit more encouraging, since I work in a needy school! In the past few years we have advertised 4 maths posts and never had more than 5 applicants, despite the fact we are in a very nice city. Applying 'out of season' i.e. if a job comes up with a Christmas or Easter start then the field will be even less (again, we had a job before Christmas and got just two NQTs applying). Also, after the May holidays and the passing of the deadline for established staff to resign you will narrow your odds.

    If you are not successful with the maths then the strategy googolplex outlines is a good one. I've not known anyone do it for fully for maths but I have seen people do it for ICT. We did have a PE teacher who wasn't maths qualified in any way teaching 6 lessons a week of maths. I myself have taught ICT and Health and Social Care without being qualified in either.

    Worth a shot anyhow. Best of luck.
  4. DM

    DM New commenter

    If you are qualified teacher and have post 16 qualifications in maths and physics, you could easily teach KS3 mathematics. In my area (East Anglia) schools would bite your arm off. Many departments are using unqualified instructors to fill vacancies in rural or low-achieving schools due to the lack of applicants.
  5. Deirds

    Deirds Senior commenter

    Thanks for the replies,everyone. I have seen a part-time temporary post which prompted my question. I thought it would be a bit cheeky to apply but I might give it a go. I do feel a bit more enthusiastic about Maths than RE at the moment. I shall carry on studying out of interest rather than expectation of a new career. (I don't think I would have believed that I would ever write something like that when I was struggling with A level Maths all those years ago.)
  6. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    This is very interesting. I've been applying to mainly independent schools or ones in bucolic locations. The ones that bother to reply (less than 50%) tell me that they are inundated with good candidates. So, at least in maths, there appears to be a two-tier system.
  7. Perhaps leave that out of the application.
    In so many schools, so many situations teaching is teaching. Anyone who can teach can be used in a department and have their subject knowledge burshed up (if required).
    I would prefer a teacher teach than a maths graduate wilting in front of 30 kids who cant add single digit numbers.
    I honestly believe 75% of the current lessons in my school could be taught be teachers rather than maths specialists. Its now down to the school to decide what they want in the appointment. I woud suggest many want stability, which in the main, comes with seasoned teachers
  8. Deirds

    Deirds Senior commenter

    Thanks. I think I have resolved most of the difficulties I had with some A level topics over recent years. Part (admittedly not all) of the problem was the re-organisation of our 6th Form, changing syllabus, having no suitable textbooks, a succession of teachers, etc.
    Anyaway, thanks again to everyone for taking time to give their advice.
  9. I keep hearing about how hard it is to hire specialists maths teachers so you may as well go for it, there's always going to be a school that needs you, it's just a matter of finding that school and working with them. As far as coming back to teacher after a few years goes, there's a teacher returning to my school who has not taught for 11 years.
    Also considering you already have the degree and the experience/knowledge of maths, then you have nothing to lose by applying for a position.
  10. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Go for it, and see what happens. With the part-time temporary post, there may not be many applications, depending on your area and the exact nature of the post. You've got teaching experience, and you've got subject knowledge; you just haven't had the practice and guidance in teaching this subject.
    The other thing to check out is whether there are any Return to Teaching courses near you - I don't know if they're getting cut but there's definitely some running this term. That would give you a placement in a school, similar to teaching practice, so that you'd get some training. A friend managed to wangle doing a secondary maths one, having trained in primary, and that worked for her.

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