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Do maths teachers in the UK still cherish their KS5 classes?

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by ian60, Feb 20, 2012.

  1. ian60

    ian60 New commenter

    Just thinking.
    When I first qualified (a long time ago), you were extremely lucky to get a position which offered you any A level teaching as it would have all been taken by those teachers already serving.
    It was considered a small haven of tranquility and cerebral stimulation amidst the hours spent with the nose pickers.
    But I sometimes get the impression that possibly there are fewer teachers prepared to teach to that level nowadays.
    It's been sometime since I taught in the UK, have I got this all wrong?
    (I am asking about post-GCSE courses where things get a little less trivial.).
  2. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    No, I think things are very much as you describe them.

    I suspect there may have been a time perhaps about 5 years ago where the then shortage of actual maths teachers may well have meant there were a lot of teachers teaching maths who couldn't teach A level.

    But that's not been the case for a while.
  3. ian60

    ian60 New commenter

    Fair 'nuff Paul.
    I suppose there is some egotistical notion lurking in the back of my mind that I would, some day, be able to return to the UK and take up a position in the school of my choice due to my ability to teach a bit of calculus and statistics.
    (I do have a slightly tighter grip on reality than that last paragraph might sugges)
  4. pipipi

    pipipi New commenter

    I certainly cherish my year 13s. All very motivated and determined to try and work out the puzzles.

    I cherish my year12 less simply because some of them don't put the effort in. They were successful at GCSE and expect the same tactic and work ethic will succeed at a level. Despite my begging and pleading with them to do a lot more! They are very nice pupils though.

    I'd like to think that I cherish my classes all equally though. But maybe not Friday afternoon...
  5. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    I still very much enjoy my A Level teaching and find it rewarding and stimulating. However class iszes of 20 or more are increasingly common and students motivation and ability can't be taken for granted in the way it once was. It is not therefore as an attractive propsition - the marking alone is a nightmare and you can see the argument for just wanting to teach further done the school regardless of our own mathematical knowledge.

    I might add from my eperience (and what ever the reason) A L evel maths specialist ares still quite hard to come by.
  6. I love teaching A level content to A level students. My one concern is that many who are not up to scratch are doing the course (i) Because they got an A at GCSE so thought they were good (ii) They need maths for Uni courses but don't want to do it or (iii) After being pushed by the 6th form admissions to take it as as fourth subject.
    Teaching A level lessons to A level kids is awesome. Teaching how to factorise quadratics in January of year 12 is not.
  7. bombaysapphire

    bombaysapphire Star commenter

    I found it difficult to break into A Level teaching at one state school. I wasn't allowed to teach any A Level in my first year. I was than allowed 1 lesson a week for the next and gradually moved up to 3. I then moved to another where they were desperate for someone prepared to take on the Further Maths A level.
    The opportunities are available but you may need to be flexible about location.
  8. adamcreen

    adamcreen Occasional commenter

    (satire) I cherish all of mine up to 3.45pm but not after, as long as they aren't stressed about getting into Cambridge, or have high expectations (/satire)
  9. Yes I certainly cherish mine and without A-level teaching, quite simply I wouldn't want to be a teacher. That's not to say I don't enjoy teaching further down the school too, but my heart is in A-level teaching.
    That said, my current Year 12s are ill-equipped for A-level and so they are struggling. But I'm trying to be positive with them and enable them to adapt to a more independent way of studying. It doesn't help that lots of students with Bs and Cs at GCSE have taken it.
    My experience is that there are some teachers who only want to teach A-level, and others who aren't that bothered. In my school most teachers aren't interested in teaching A-level because they don't want to put the time in getting their subject knowledge up to scratch, and also I think some feel uncomfortable teaching students of this age. I don't hold this against them, I'm happy to take as much A-level as they're not willing to do!
    Teaching A-level to motivated classes has literally been the most rewarding part of my career in the past. It can be hard work with less motivated students but I still love it.
  10. This sounds good - offering a breadth of courses rather than the depth of studying C3 and C4, which are simply beyond many.

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