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Could I teach Maths?

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by cparker777777, Apr 19, 2018.

  1. cparker777777

    cparker777777 New commenter

    I have obtained a PGCE in Computing and ICT in 2016. I currently really enjoy teaching these subjects and am passionate about the subject but I really want to widen my teaching prospects from next year. I have only have managed to get a part time job teaching ICT for next year.
    I think I will look into maths tutoring (freelance) and seeing if any supply agencies will let me teach Maths whilst I work part time.
    I was thinking of self funding a SKE course in Maths (8 weeks for 1.5k)

    I am not from a Computer Science background but I am passionate about the subject and hate the thought that I am giving it up on it but I just haven't had the success I wanted.
    I think Maths could offer me job prospects as well as tutoring opportunities which has always appealed.
    Im also nervous about constant changes to CS but mind find I could teach both!

    What are peoples thoughts, does anyone have advice on how to transfer their teaching subject?
  2. border_walker

    border_walker Lead commenter

    What qualifications do you have in maths? I have taught 4 different subjects.
  3. JaquesJaquesLiverot

    JaquesJaquesLiverot Established commenter

    In my experience, when I've expressed an interest in teaching Maths and told the school I could do it, they've just taken my word for it and added me to the timetable. Download some Higher tier papers from the different exam boards (they all offer some free ones on their web-sites) and see what you think.

    What I like about Maths is that it's easy to have total mastery of the subject at GCSE level. Occasionally I used to see the odd GCSE ICT questions where I've thought, "I'm not sure what they're on about there", or "I know the real answer to that question, but it's beyond GCSE level", but I've never seen a Maths question that I can't answer.
    border_walker likes this.
  4. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Access to the front of a classroom and the ability to teach a subject are two very different things.
  5. tjra

    tjra Occasional commenter

    With both Maths and Computing teachers in significantly short supply it surprises me that you'd struggle to find a post in either. I'd have thought you'd be snapped up by most schools if you were able to offer both. Where are you based?
  6. border_walker

    border_walker Lead commenter

    Although I never taught maths as a subject, it was the second subject on my PGCE. retired now, but do do some exam invigilation. I have always look at maths papers. They do seem to have got harder recently.
    Once sat with the head of maths watching a PGCE student deliver a maths lesson, needed a part time maths teacher as part of the post. I was concerned that he did a very poor job of teaching maths, I don't think I would have appointed him. But concerns were brushed aside. When you are desperate it is surprising who you will accept.
    JohnJCazorla likes this.
  7. elder_cat

    elder_cat Senior commenter

    Two different takes on this, and you are the only one who knows which of these applies in your own case.

    As @Vince-Ulam says, to successfully teach any subject requires you to have a depth of knowledge and understanding beyond the level at which you intend to teach. Without that you will struggle to help students with any problems they encounter beyond the basics. :(

    My own PGCE was in Business IT, but I ended up teaching Computing in FE. The only Maths I needed to cover in the curriculum was pretty basic stuff like number systems used and converting between them. Unlike @JaquesJaquesLiverot, I was never that brilliant at Maths, and would not have been at all comfortable trying to teach it as a subject in its own right, certainly not up to GCSE/A Level standard. You may be more comfortable and competent in Maths than I was. In which case I am surprised given the shortage of Maths teachers that you can't find something, unless for some reason there happens to be a glut of qualified Maths teachers in your area.

    I suppose as a starting point, you could get your hands on some recent GCSE/A Level Maths papers, and see how you get on with those.

    Alternatively, keep trying to find extra hours on the ICT front. If the comments on these forums from CS teachers are anything to go by, there seems to be a consensus that CS may be doomed, but perhaps the next couple of years will see curriculum offerings that are more oriented towards "ICT" than "Computing".

    Perhaps you should try posting on the Mathematics Forum, rather than Computing and ICT? The folk there may be better placed to offer advice on what's required.

    Putting my Devil's Advocate hat on for a minute, I would be interested to know how the Maths teacher community viewed the idea of a maths teaching post being taken by a computing specialist, given the amount of posts from CS teachers bemoaning the appointment of 'non-specialists' to teach Computing. Maybe they view things differently ? ;)
    JohnJCazorla likes this.
  8. armandine2

    armandine2 Established commenter

  9. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    I've held down a few supply jobs as a Science teacher, not because I'm any good but schools are desperate. The only difference between me and the shoe-horned RE teacher is that I've stated "I'm a Science teacher".

    This is West Yorkshire but I doubt it's much different elsewhere and they're desperate for any Maths teachers as well.

    It's hard to be snobbish when you're in a department where the only 'proper maths' teachers are in a minority and you only teach GCSE because the other teachers aren't up to it.

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