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What is it like being a Maths teacher?

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by FramedSkye, Jun 19, 2012.

  1. I left it open so I can get a broader view and people can interpret it any way you want. Specifically, what do you like about being a Maths teacher? How/why did you choose this occupation?
  2. Thank you very much for your insightful and in depth response :) I have decided to try and give tutoring a go and if Ioke that and achieve results from that, it will help me consider whether or not to pursue teaching. As for uni, I was going to do a science degree with a dip ed then possibly masters.
    By the mention of the year "13" I assume you are from the UK, but i have no doubt teaching is somewhat universal.
    As for the pay, recently in Australia there was a huge teachers strike and the pay has risen fairly substantially.
  3. Guish

    Guish New commenter

    I felt that I wanted to teach Maths when I was doing my A levels. I would use breaks working on my Mathematics worksheets and would spend hours perfecting my lines to make them look elegant. Also, I helped class mates to learn Maths and when I explained to them, they understood. So, these were signs that I had to become a teacher. As my colleagues said, the reality is different in the class room. Kids will test you. Classroom management during the first few years is hell and colleagues will hunt you down and look at you in an odd way and will treat you as an amateur. However, once you know your stuff, make yourself known and start getting results, you will feel like Hulk. It's not all about the subject. You change students as persons too.
  4. googolplex

    googolplex Occasional commenter

    I didn't choose it, it chose me! I was teaching elsewhere. Retrained and never looked back. Specifically, I enjoy puzzling, crosswords, etc. Sitting down and working through an A-level textbook is just as satisfying. So, working with maths all day is great! Also, my personal hobbies, puzzling aside, are rather far removed from maths, so I have a great deal of variety in my life. I think that's very important - achieving a good work life balance isn't something one specifically plans for at the outset, but it needs to be taken into consideration.
    Being a Head of Maths is the best job I've ever done. I have always really enjoyed working with kids. I enjoy the relative perceived importance of maths over most other subjects. I enjoy the challenge of the subject both personally, and in terms of the way I can bring it across to others. I like the creativity involved in teaching. I much appreciate the camaraderie amongst the teaching community. I greatly appreciate any job which will give me 13 weeks holiday per year[​IMG] so I can live a little...
  5. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    if you have just finished school, would you want to teach your classmates?
    personally i don't think you can do teaching as a single career now, many people enter as a second career.
    Can you see yourself teaching for 40 or more years, if not what would you do after say 20 years of teaching.....
    Can be a great job, depends if the head/SMT support strong discipline and a good work ethic. If they hide in tehir offices and behind a list of school policies then it can be baby sitting with a list of exams results to achieve.
  6. Guish

    Guish New commenter

    ^ Lol, the last two lines describe my school.
  7. afterdark

    afterdark Lead commenter

    With students who want to learn...great.
    in the UK with barking mad parents, enough to make a saint swear.
    I find teaching is wonderful, particularly when you see the children make progress.
    It can be a hugely constructive process and you learn a lot about people as a teacher.
  8. Many lessons are great, many are just potty training, crowd control and clockwatching.
    Some of the benefits are awesome, some of the constraints not ideal.
    Some schools are good, some are garbage.
    Many days I don't even do maths despite 5 lessons of it being on my timetable, other days I am lost in the beauty of numbers.
    Some days I forget the time and the 3.15 bell goes, other days standing out doing duty repeating school rules to kids feels like 25 years in a maximum security unit.
    Some days I spend looking at jobs in the private sector, other days I see kids in the supermarket who thank me and I never want to leave.
    Being a maths teacher is x% about maths and (100-x)% about all the other things that get tagged on. The longer I stay in the job the more I realise the 100-x is getting closer and closer to being 100.
    Would I change careers? no, would I give up if I won a lot of cash? yes.
  9. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    pretty much sums it up in my experience!
    I do wonder how mnay people will survive to 68!
  10. googolplex

    googolplex Occasional commenter

    Too often, this sort of thread ends up being a big list of all the frustrating parts of our jobs leaving one with the impression that the grass is greener on the other side (in industry). All my mates are in the private sector, and yes, some do very well, but many are living in permanent fear of redundancy, others are on short term contracts, some are unemployed; few have a pension to speak of, all have incessant, unreasonable demands made on them by managers who are equally pressured themselves; we're all of us middle aged graduates, and my salary compares favourably with theirs and they will be green with envy towards the end of July. I wouldn't swap my job for theirs for all the tea in china.
  11. gchand

    gchand New commenter

    Teaching maths to kids who don't want to be there is one of the most difficult jobs in the world. But when you get their trust and you get their intrinsic motivation going, it is the most rewarding. It does take spark and personality to get there.
    PiotrBrudniak likes this.
  12. There s no jobs in FE sector, I ' m afraid!
  13. We are no longer teachers like we were 20 years ago. We are facilitators that help the student learn. We are there for them not for us. So if your reasons add-up to be there and acceptable to you then that's probably the angle you should be viewing this from. Generalise by evaluating all the single reasons and grouping them together.

    Good luck.

    PS. I have just turned 52 and changed professions after 25 years in a different industry. The practical training and assignments are wonderful but there are sticky points whatever job you end up with. There are always challenges in life generally and specifically everywhere.
  14. rich_m

    rich_m New commenter

    I'm now 3 years into the job and would agree with most of what has been said. A LOT of what you will experience will depend of the school you are at and the support you have around you. I feel quite lucky where I am, we have some very challenging kids, but normally have the backing that can be needed.
    I have top sets in Y7 and Y8 and find them very rewarding (eg; explaining how trigonometry was used by the dambusters yesterday to 8 set 2 was great), but then I have a low Y9 set which is VERY challenging and I feel like banging my head against the desk every second.
    Despite all of the drawbacks, the simple truth is that if you can help make a difference to a child's life then you will go home happy. Even if >90% of the kids don't appreciate what you are trying to do, that minority makes the job worth it.
  15. Guish

    Guish New commenter

    ^ I have to agree with that. The minority does make the difference. The reason I got my job was because I was excellent with the senior students doing their A levels during my first year of teaching. I had to prepare them in 1 year and a lot of them had no foundation and had poor results in ADD Maths IGCSE. I had poor classroom management with the little ones and had to be taken out of that group but my knowledge and skills with the senior students saved my job. I'm a happy teacher going on the 5th year of teaching right now.
  16. Get yourself some life experience, go find yourself, work and travel, do something. Don't go straight into teaching, the worldly-wise teachers have experience that is invaluable for the enrichment of their ability to teach.

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