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Could maths teaching be for me?

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by Informant, May 27, 2011.

  1. Informant

    Informant New commenter

    I remember career changing to maths teaching 10 years ago in my mid 40's and everyone saying (with a wry smile) I must be mad. Perhaps you've heard this already. I don't think anyone has yet commented that the emotional highs and lows are more evident in teaching, so support of colleagues and family is valuable. You will need some emotional resilience.
    If you can see some difficult classes as well as ideal classes in your school visit, you're decision should become clearer. I did a cash flow forecast spreadsheet first which indicated 3 years before income fully covered expenditure.The forecast was correct, but I never regretted my decision.
  2. lancsHOD

    lancsHOD New commenter

    The more experience you can get in school the better. If you could manage a few hours a week observing/helping in secondary maths classrooms you'd get a better idea of what it is really like.
    That said what it is really like in one school with one teacher can be totally different in another school. It is a fantastically rewarding career at times at times it's hard work and stressful. Totally agree there will be emotional highs and lows.
    I have been teaching for 15years, did A'Level Maths, Psychology degree, 2 year conversion Maths PGCE at Birmingham uni. Never had a problem getting a job and never worked in the south east. Your A'Level grade may matter to some schools. I'd say 11-18 schools may be harder to get into than 11-16 for you. But my first job was in an 11-18 school and after a few years I taught A'Level.
    I would have doubted my ability to do a degree in Maths before I started teaching, my conversion course did have some degree level maths in it.
    I think the fact I have a 2.1 has probably helped my applications. It's hard to know why I have had found it easy to get jobs, my first job was probably the one when there was most competition. I believe if you apply for jobs that suit you, you get them!
    I don't really know the job situation for new entrants at the moment but 4 years ago I was appalled by the poor quality applications we got in my current school, only one applicant judged fit for interview. Your experience in the 'real world' will be an attribute. What would really matter to me is a letter of application that; was written in decent English and showed someone committed to teaching Maths to children. May sound basic but the letters I saw were generally awful, applicants didn't necessarily have teaching qualifications I recognized!
    As for additional responsibility I know people who have been promoted after 2 years some very successfully some not. You can't judge if it would be appropriate until you have got some experience teaching and know how you are getting on, how established you are and how you manage the work load. The skills in your current job could give you an advantage, I do think that a 30 yr old NQT can develop quicker than a 22yr old. There are a lot of factors at play here.
  3. Thanks again everyone, I'm really pleased with the time you have taken to read and respond to my post.
    LancsHoD, I am in your area btw, it's encouraging to know you don't see a lack of jobs around.
    Just to pick up on something in your post above about my A level grade mattering to some schools - I am a bit embarrassed to admit this but it is only a C, along with only a B at GCSE unfortunately. If I were to undertake the 36 week enhancement course and demonstrably do well, would my previous perfomance have a significant effect on my chances on finding employment. (I do think that at this time in my life I am better equipped to apply myself more fully to the studying and am now kicking myself for not trying harder previously).
    Also, is it common/feasible for maths teachers to supplement their income with private tutoring?

  4. Just to add, my degree is a 2:1 though - BSc in Marketing Management from a decent university - and my other grades are good (i.e. all my other GCSEs are As and my A levels are slightly less good but still ok at 2 Bs and 2 Cs) just in case that makes a difference. The last thing I want is to invest in this career change and then find out when I start applying for jobs that my qualifications are not good enough, so please be honest.
    In terms of my career, I joined up on the graduate scheme and climbed the ladder very quickly ahead of my peers, so I think my work experience will be my main selling point for myself in interviews and I do think many of the skills I have picked up would be transferable to teaching.
  5. I don't feel that your GCSE or A Level grades would prevent you getting a job teaching KS3 or even KS4 maths, especially after having complete a MEC. Private tuition is feasible but there isn't always a demand for it and you probably wouldn't have the capacity for it in your first couple of years (which can be very demanding in lots of ways). I would caution you against expecting too much kudos for your experience of industry/Real Life/world of work etc. People already in teaching also have this in bucket loads along with years' of teaching experience. I would say, from reading your posts, that your maturity and enthusiasm are what will attract employment.
  6. littlerussell

    littlerussell New commenter

    From your questions about income, I sense that this is quite significant for you.
    The opportunities to rise up the scale in schools are there, but may not happen quickly. You may be able to pick up some tutoring work (or marking exam papers), but this is not likely to change your standard of living. In some schools, you might find yourself working a 70 hour week and be unable to consider additional employment (but at least that way you don't have time to spend the money!).
    The pay is what it is. I would be sure you can live on the base salary and view anything else as a bonus.
  7. Wow, can I just say a huge thanks once again to all who have posted. I am quite overwhelmed with how positive and constructive the comments have been. This has all helped a great deal. I am really looking forward to my week in school next week and will report back (on the off chance that someone might be interested!).

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