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Swapping from another subject to teach maths

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by siddons_sara, Mar 31, 2011.

  1. Totally agree with Betamale, provided you have a good grasp of the maths, lack of degree won't hold you back. Good teaching skills are far more important. Go for it johnblack.
  2. I did a PGCE in Business education and switched to part Maths part Business Studies in my 2nd year. The year after that I became just Maths. I have since taught ICT and Careers too. I am rated outstanding and have exceptionally good residuals and do a lot of best practise in Maths. Go for it!!! (A lot of that was for the person who thinks Maths is going down the toilet due to 'unqualified' staff. I have my own opinions on that but it is a whole different discussion)
  3. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    It doesn't exactly help though does it?
    Personally I think the problem is much lower down at the primary and junior levels.

  4. Nazard

    Nazard New commenter

    Lots of people are urging you just to go and start teaching maths. That is fine, and many people are successful at doing this. You were originally thinking about taking some kind of course to help you do this, and I think that is the right approach.
    I am very happy to accept that someone without a maths degree, and/or without a maths PGCE can be an excellent teacher of mathematics. The idea that they won't be even better than that if they seek out appropriate CPD doesn't seem right.
    There are courses called "Maths Enhancement Courses" (MEC). These are available at several universities across the country - do Google them.
    The National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics, www.ncetm.org.uk , provides support for maths teachers. At the moment their contract is in abeyance (I think) but they seem confident it will be renewed and there are some very useful things on their website. It would be worth signing up at the site, going to 'Personal Learning' and then to 'Self-evaluation Tool'.
    I hope this is helpful and good luck with your future maths teaching!
  5. arsinh

    arsinh New commenter

    I understand NCETM has a six month stay of execution.
    I think MEC courses are only available to those who have a conditional PGCE offer and not qualified teachers.
  6. That 'person' was me! I'm sorry - it's just me being very precious! [​IMG]
    I just forgot how easy it is to teach maths.
    I mean, how difficult can it be?
    Anybody can do it.
    All you have to do is follow all those handy little 'how-to' guides that they [you know who] produce to help non-specialists deliver it ......
    And if I am reading subsequent comments correctly, as a trained teacher, I should be able to teach anything - well I've had a stab at French with 7 [I struggled tbh] and I could have a go at Italian.
    Maybe, I could try a little Drama or Performing Arts - that can't be all that difficult to teach, can it? I mean, I've danced at weddings and not done too much damage. And I sang once and nobody died.
    Then again, it just may be that, as a person who did not too shabbily at maths at school and as a teacher who qualified in maths, I have an appreciation of / sensitivity to the needs / understanding [and otherwise] / misconceptions of the pupils who are studying the subject I love ..... I guess that is what I mean by 'specialism' ....
    If ever we get to the point when anyone can do it, we'll be called technicians ....
    ... and it will be time for me to leave this profession!
    Oh, sorry - doing that next week!
    Oh, and by the way, I don't believe a teacher of Maths has to have a Maths degree
    But I am now going to crawl back underneath my stone, put my blinkers on and berate the invention of calculators, the internet etc
    haven't I got some front? [​IMG]
  7. And that has to be the longest post I have ever written.
    Bloody furious - that's me! [​IMG]
  8. bbibbler

    bbibbler New commenter

    In a good way.

    I also managed to get my horses in a twist. Hercules was the horse in Steptoe and son. I meant Boxer who was the horse in Animal farm.

    He could see that the system was flawed, but he believed that if he just worked a little harder then things would be OK. He was still trying to inspire the other animals as he was loaded into the knackers van.
  9. Ok, I see ...... [​IMG]
    Thanks bibbs [​IMG]
  10. People are talking about teaching maths in this post (and in some circumstances quite rightly)
    I still say you need to have minimal starting knowledge to BE A VALUED MEMBER of a maths department
    We have at least 3 sets per year that cannot add two double digit numbers without getting in a muddl. They certainly cant multiply without papr, time and or a calculator and have no idea of negative numbers.
    Many of these classes have huge behaviour problems and motivation is on the floor. The kids are so weak naturally that control, motivation and basic numeracy is what is required. We turn away good TEACHERS in favour of people who have a bit of paper.
    I assure you, many with degree holders are not operating '2 levels' below this after time away from the subject.
    Good strong non specialists who are willing to become 'specialists' have their place in many schools.
  11. googolplex

    googolplex Occasional commenter

    It seems the OP saw red when reading Valed's response. The OP needs to acquire a thick skin from somewhere. If he can't cope with a few sharp words on a website, how's he going to cope teaching fractions to bottom set Year 11 on a Friday pm?
    FWIW, at least half of my dept, including me, have degrees in non-maths related subjects. The key is to have a balance of experiences in the department, but to ensure that all teachers are ambitious and as versatile as possible. It's no good having a Step expert who can't teach needy kids at KS4. On the other hand, it pays to ensure that there are sufficient teachers to cover Further Maths and Step entrance.
    I'd get some experience teaching maths in your current school. If you like it, ask for some support in retraining. That's how I did it.
  12. I've read this thread with interest, having been a Head of Maths in four secondary schools, and worked with many teachers, good and not so good. There is little correlation between ability to teach maths and degree level knowledge - in fact, some teachers with maths degrees do not make good teachers at all, having never struggled with understanding the basics. The key is an enthusiasm for maths and a commitment to one's own professional development - you could study maths and maths teaching, at your convenience, throughout your career, and never know everything.
    If you want to change subject and teach maths, grab the opportunity - there are CPD opportunities not available in other subjects.
    Nowadays I teach the maths subject knowledge enhancement courses mentioned above, at a university in the MIdlands. I also run the Maths Development Programme for Teachers - precisely for those who are swapping to teach secondary maths - forty days INSET in a year, school release. We await news of TDA funding for 2011-12.
    If you really want to teach maths, go for it.
    http://www.wlv.ac.uk/default.aspx?page=21374 - more info
  13. harderfaster

    harderfaster New commenter

    Econometrics is no less relevant than higher level university modules in pure/applied mathematics. The most advanced content of mathematics in secondary education (for example, c1-c4, perhaps not fp) is used just as widely in econometrics as in a straight maths degree.
  14. That was the point I was trying to make in terms of subject knowledge.

    But I do agree with Valed that if the OP has the chance of CPD then it would be good to make use of that. I'm afraid that on my own PGCE there was precious little in terms of the best ways to teach different topics, that's something that people seem to think teachers are born with. Having seen some crazy ideas for teaching various things, I think it is far from the case...
  15. JohnBlack, I have nothing concrete to add other than to add my voice to those offering encouragement to 'have a go.' (I say that from the perspective of a GTP student although I am a maths specialist). I know of a few 'other' teachers who have successfully taught maths at KS 3 and beyond. Get as much support from the maths dept as possible. If you find teaching maths suits you and you are coping, have a look at some CPD. However, having done some of the CPD courses myself, I found them of variable quality and contributed little to my ability to teach the subject as a whole. It does give you something to cherry-pick from though. However, as you may have deduced here you will face discrimination and may be looked down on by some (as I have) for having the temerity to teach maths without a maths PGCE.
  16. Certainly! I agree.
    Coping? Got to aim higher than that, I suggest! [​IMG]
    True but only because, as said earlier, it's the 'ability' to teach maths that concerns those of us who know that it means nothing if the children don't progress.
    And THAT is the real issue / concern here - how a non-specialist's [let's use the loosest of definitions and say this is someone who has not been trained to teach maths specifically] own poor understanding / knowledge undermines their ability to improve pupils' understanding and progress .....
  17. Are you saying that someone who has not been trained to teach maths specifically has poor understanding / knowledge of the subject, or of teaching it? If it is the former then I don't see the logic.
  18. OMG
    I give up........ [​IMG]
  19. googolplex

    googolplex Occasional commenter

    He's saying, I think, that it could be all of thpse things...
    The bottom line is, there's standing at the front of the room, firing out work as a non-specialist. Then, there's genuine experience - knowing the pitfalls, knowing the little techniques that work, knowing resources which really make a difference, knowing how to put together sequences of learning that help move students on. You can gain these through experience - working out, over the years, what works and what doesn't. You can gain it all considerably more quickly by engaging in CPD - which doesn't mean a course with a nice lunch in a hotel somewhere. Most effective CPD is done in-house, as a matter of routine by good departments talking about pedagogy, sharing ideas and developing new resources.
  20. If you don't mind me saying so ....
    Well said! [​IMG]
    I couldn't be bothered......

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