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Non-specialist teaching Maths

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by grannyw, Apr 11, 2012.

  1. Okay, so I have been in teaching for 11 years. In my second year of teaching History I was asked to teach Maths to year 7s. I did so and enjoyed it. At my next school, having secured role of Head of Year, Maths made up more than 50% of my timetable. My next job was as Ks3 Co-Ordinator of Maths. I was then promoted to Head of Year and continued to teach solely Maths. In my current role I am a full-time Maths teacher with responsibility for Numeracy Across the Curriculum. I am now looking for a new job in Yorkshire as we need to move for my husband's work, however, all the specifications ask for a Maths degree and I only have a B grade at GCSE!! I have taught GCSE to A* But am worried I will not be able to find a new job. Advice, please?....
  2. Nazard

    Nazard New commenter

    You sound like a maths specialist to me!

    Every school will ask for a well-qualified maths graduate on their recruitment literature but, when it comes down to it, will appoint the best person for the job. If I were looking to appoint someone then your previous experience would be very interesting and you might well be included on the shortlist even though you didn't qualify as a mathematician.

    If I were you I would expect to justify your change to teaching maths, to explain why this makes you such a great _teacher_ of mathematics, to highlight your previous successes and to show that you are incredibly enthusiastic about continuing to teach maths.

    It doesn't sound to me as if you are anxious about your level of mathematics at all, which is great, but you might want to look at the NCETM self-evaluation tool. https://www.ncetm.org.uk/self-evaluation/

    This is designed to allow people check their level of mathematical understanding and then to follow up any areas of weakness. Even though you probably don't need this, being able to talk at interview about having done it would help to show that you are committed to your own professional development.

    Good luck!
  3. Thanks, Nazard. Am just getting panicked as one job I applied for locally rejected me on the basis that I did not have a degree. The HoD argued with the Headteacher, pointing out my experience, but she refused to see me!
    I don't know how much demand there is for Maths teachers in Yorkshire. I know here in Cornwall they are ten-a-penny.
  4. frustum

    frustum Lead commenter

    You have to hope for people who read the application and don't just rule people out automatically. I guess sometimes if there's a strong field they may have to keep an eye on the possibility of someone claiming discrimination, if they are rejected in favour of someone who doesn't meet the job spec.
    I remember a HoD saying (back in the 90s when short-listing was a necessity) that he'd take the applications home and sift out the ones without maths degrees. The three of us in the room at the time, all of whom taught A-level, immediately pointed out that none of us had a maths degree.
  5. googolplex

    googolplex Occasional commenter

    My degree is totally irrelevant to maths teaching but, as with the OP, and with several promotions initially through pastoral posts, I changed to teaching just maths. You describe your move as one of circumstances which you went along with - sort of drifting into maths. Better, I think, to think in terms of a deliberate career choice and to justify this with choices you have made since then particularly in terms of training.
    I'm now HOD in a large comprehensive and found that plenty of schools were more than happy to take me on. One thing I did make sure of, though, was that my INSET record reflected a change to teaching maths. I did an advanced diploma course through the OU, plus I jumped on every bandwagon there was in terms of taking up opportunities both within school and the locality. Hence, when it came to justifying my change of subject, there was plenty to talk about.
    Whether circumstances are different now from what they were when I last applied for a job 7 years back is an interesting point. Both late Labour policy and current Tory policy seems to place emphasis on relevant degrees. So, increasing numbers of schools may well see this as an issue. Personally, I don't, particularly due to my own experience and also because several of my colleagues are superb maths teachers with non-maths-related degrees. Fortunately, I have a good mix of maths and non-maths grads and I will try and maintain that. Hence, it will vary as to how I look at the degree situation when appointing new colleagues but I would never rule out an experienced teacher such as yourself with a non-relevant degree.

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