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Do you need a degree in Maths to teach A-level maths?

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by Idifferentiateu, Jun 2, 2011.

  1. Hiya,

    I have applied to be a teacher and know that you can only teach up to GCSE with the PGCE at face value, and I was thinking about my old high school maths teacher - they all had maths or joint honours with maths degrees. I have a Geophysics degree and would like to teach maths at A-level. Would I ever be allowed to teach A-level maths having not done a Maths degree? I got A's in Maths and F. Maths and spent a year at uni doing maths but changed to geophysics because uni maths wasn't for me.
     
  2. Hiya,

    I have applied to be a teacher and know that you can only teach up to GCSE with the PGCE at face value, and I was thinking about my old high school maths teacher - they all had maths or joint honours with maths degrees. I have a Geophysics degree and would like to teach maths at A-level. Would I ever be allowed to teach A-level maths having not done a Maths degree? I got A's in Maths and F. Maths and spent a year at uni doing maths but changed to geophysics because uni maths wasn't for me.
     
  3. In a nutshell yes.
    Some folks even go as far as Head of Department.
    If you are prepared to prep, look things up,consult more experienced/knowledgeable colleagues [and take heed I might add], check, and check again...then you will most likely become an excellent teacher.
    I say good luck to you.

     
  4. alabaster

    alabaster New commenter

    I think it depends on your school. Some of my colleagues in my school do not have maths degrees but teach A level. Some schools only want to employ people with maths degrees.
     
  5. DM

    DM New commenter

    Says who? There are 11-16 PGCEs, 11-18 PGCEs and post 16 PGCEs.

     
  6. Plenty of people with maths degrees cant teach maths
    Plenty of people without degrees in maths can teach degree level maths (yes, degree level)
    IMO you only need three things to get where you want to be in teaching:
    (i) Drive
    (ii) Ability
    (iii) People around you who judge on ability/potential rather than often meaningless qualfications.
    3 of the 5 best 11-18 teachers I know are the unwashed folk who are not 'specialists'
     
  7. Of course!
    ... if you can!
     
  8. googolplex

    googolplex Occasional commenter

    Wow![​IMG]
    In my experience, it might have been more accurate to say:
    ...without a degree you can become a Head of Maths. Some folks even go so far as to teach the subject at A-level...
    I make this point because I am HoD and do teach A-level, but I don't have a degree in maths or a maths related subject. (However, I have previously, and continue to put in loads of time on additional qualifications). In my experience, being a HoD has little connection with maths as a discipline, other than scouring spreadsheets, telling management how they should be interpreting the maths FFTD chance tables, before they concoct their own silly conclusions, and similarly for ALIS. Off the top of my head, there are various other chores, such as:
    • lots of need for managing people - staff and students/parents,
    • loads of glorious admin, and
    • the potential for limitless work on pedagogy.
    None of these tasks has much to do with a maths degree. Possibly the pedagogy one could if one was so inclined, but, for me, it is more about keeping a broad mind, and a firm idea about what constitutes good maths pedagogy, and keeping up to date with all the latest ideas from outlets such as NRICH, MA, ATM, NCETM etc..
    Our department has a good blend of graduate mathematicians, and non-mathematicians. I like it that way, and it seems to work.
     
  9. googolplex

    googolplex Occasional commenter

    Meant to write:
    without a <u>maths</u> degree....
     
  10. if you do, that is a bummer and i might as well do something else because i enjoy helping with a level maths. GCSE is boring and if i never get to teach a-level, then what is the point?

    If you are saying the above just to make yourself feel better then i feel pity for you. Either way thank you to everyone for your thoughts.
     
  11. DM

    DM New commenter

    ???
     
  12. googolplex

    googolplex Occasional commenter

    Are you referring to my post?! If so, I suggest you take off your blinkers, and read it again. In short, I am <u>not</u> a maths graduate. I do teach A-level and, hence, so can you. Perhaps you can point out the bit where I contradicted that. The rest of my post was a point of order regarding being HoD.
    However, a new issue springs up from your response...
    If that's your approach, don't bother. The "point" is that anyone deserves a good maths education and that good teachers will take the time to prepare their best lessons for all students regardless of their ability. If you are in this game just for what you perceive to be the 'cream' then think again about your career choice. If you are going to find GCSE boring (or, indeed, any other aspects), then I'd be surprised if you found work in any school.
     
  13. Piranha

    Piranha Lead commenter

    I don't want to be mean, but if you really think that, it is possible that teaching Maths is not for you. Yes, you could probably get to teach some A-level, but the majority of your time would almost certainly be GCSE and below. If the non A-level stuff is boring to you, then you won't enjoy the job much. I love teaching A-level, and am lucky enough to do quite a lot of it, but I also enjoy introducing Year 7 to Algebra and everything in between.
     
  14. Wanderer007

    Wanderer007 New commenter

    Some sound points for professional development, considered and balanced. To the OP, I've been teaching for 4 years and have a few initials after my name - doesn't count for anything when you're in front of 30 teenagers. Can they tell I do have a maths degree, probably not. Do they really care? I fear you're (idifferentiateu) wanting to run before being able to walk.
    If you differentiate u, then you'll be 1... in every sense. Time to integrate. [​IMG]
    Hope your teaching application works out for the best
     
  15. If you find GCSE maths boring perhaps you could spend time on GCSE level English?..perhaps
    I agree that the wow factor of lower end maths is not going to be an amazing feeling all the time but let me give you this idea:
    Imagine taking a group of lazy, vile year 10s from the start through 2 years of a foundation GCSE to find the same kids sitting in your room at lunch only 18 months later wanting to be better and who are 100% you, their learning and the idea of success. That (amongst many other different but equally good scenarios) is what teaching is about. Its not all about the finer things, its about moving kids on. Very few opportunities will allow for the 'perfect scenario' and much of your time (especially as a PGCE student/class teacher in mainstream education) will not be teaching 'maths'
    You will be a babysitter, bouncer and admin monkey who just happens to mention 6 x 4 two to three times a lesson.
    Teaching doesnt sound like the game for you based on the post made.
     
  16. that was reference to post 2 who i felt was being a bit egotistical. As for 11-18 pgce's i've not seen one to date. All the universities I have looked at have been 11-16. Do you know how i can search specifically for the 11-18 PGCE's?
     
  17. googolplex

    googolplex Occasional commenter

    With respect, you gave post 2 a tough job. Which question does he answer?
    The post title? "Do you need a degree in Maths to teach A-level maths?"
    or this one, from the main body of your text:
    "Would I ever be allowed to teach A-level maths having not done a Maths degree?"
    Which non-egotistical answer do you want in response?

     
  18. I think you will be lone in your thoughts
    There are plenty
    Yes. When you crank up Google you can type that search term in. Alternatively you can contact any University you like the look of an ask. You will find many require some experience of post 16.
    An egotistical reponse would be that, from your posts, you sound very naive and potentially unsuitable for the environment you are wishing to enter. You will of course not get comments like that though and any should be looked upon in a poor light.
     
  19. bombaysapphire

    bombaysapphire Star commenter

    I did an 11-18 PGCE at Roehampton University.
    Despite having a Maths degree I did not take on an A level Maths group for a year. I had to move schools to add a bigger proportion of A level teaching to my timetable. In my experience in some schools there is a limited amount of A level teaching time available and some HoDs want to keep a chunk to themselves.
    Fortunately I enjoy all of the groups I teach. It is more of a challenge to find a way to make sure that my bottom set in Year 9 remember how to find a fraction of an amount than it is to teach the hardest concepts to my Further Maths A level students. It is also incredibly satisfying to see those students improve in confidence.
    The frustrations arise from dealing with disruptive students lower down the school. I find the best way to deal with that is to be enthusiastic about the subject matter I am delivering.
     
  20. As Betamale state...
    I am one of the great unwashed and I have made it to Head of Department. A very poor Maths degree with IT (MSc) - History of Maths.. etc. I didn't do an A Level in Maths and chose to complete this when my school offered A Level. Your HOD should choose people according to ability to teach rather than paper work.I have found 1st class honours students to be besotted with formulae and degree level reasoning rather than fundemental teaching. People have to remember we all started from the basics and sometimes coming from the fundementals helps in teaching and often brings on board a levelled teaching capacity. (Not always.. So 1st class degrees dont shout at me :eek:))
    It depends on your ability to bring it across to the students, which in my ideal of teaching is the basic to making a good/great teacher whatever the level.
     

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