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What makes a good maths teacher and is there a shortage?

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by something_more_original, Jul 8, 2010.

  1. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    What response are you expecting from me? That it is ok to teach low ability to students without much subject knowledge because no-one will be able to notice? It is not my problem the type of schools you work in, but your pupils deserve someone with subject knowledge above and beyond "one week ahead". Putting on a martyr's expression and complaining about the difficulty of the situation is just making excuses. As for developing as a minority teacher, what is that supposed to mean?
     
  2. Your response stinks of someone who is desperate to hold onto this idea that being a teacher automaticaly makes you a professional and opening this career up to the 'non specialists' should never happen.
    The majority of solid teaching comes from a range of both qualified and unqualified teachers who are able to teach pupils, not those who have a degree and by default are seen as teachers.
    MInority teacher? You are suggesting that most teachers do not fall into the bracket I state.
    As for your ignorance, you certainly do not need to have a degree in maths or be a specialist to teach low ability pupils. You simply need to be a teacher, not a subject specialist. Most adults of our generation have basic mathematical skills from school. These are rarely extended for the majority of pupils in KS3/KS4.
    So, yes I expected such a response and you have done well to adhere to the stereotype.
    Again I am looking forward to the invitation of 'good practice' and coming to see what you do in a school that has ~50% or below A-C pass rate

     
  3. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    I remeber another poster on this forum who was also troll, posting contentious issues purely for the sake of argument. strangely his name was similar to yours - SirHenry?
     
  4. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    Althoiugh I do agree in general with some of your points.
    Up to a certain level, I would much rather have a "good teacher" who may not be a maths specilaist but is qualified up to some sort of post 16 level than I would a "maths specialist" with a maths degree but who cant teach for toffee.

    I also agree that classroom management is increasingly an important issue and a maths specilaist who may be brilliant with nice grammer school kids may be rubbish in a comp a) becuase they have no idea how to teach less able children and b) becuase the cant manage the behaviour.


     
  5. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    *grammar !!
     
  6. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    Subject Knowledge in this sense then is important but it is not maths degree type subject knowledge that is most important.

    It is knowledge of how children learn mathematics, its building blocks, and how it can be taught inspirationalyy that is important and you dont learn too much about this on a maths degree - or at least not in my experience
     
  7. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    A tad sanctimonious aren't you? The only people who are wholeheartedly in support of non-specialists are, funnily enough, non-specialists. I am not suggesting anything about minority teachers. I am actually asking you what one is. Or is it someone who doesn't know the subject that they are teaching?
     
  8. I teach in FE and have just completed my subject specialism level 5 diploma. Do I feel any more specialist than I was before? errrrmmm nope. It was a series of hoop jumping and box ticking.
    As much as I enjoyed researching the history of maths I am not entirely sure how it made me a better teacher or indeed a better maths teacher.
    For me the reason I have relatively high success rates is because maths doesn't come easily to me I have to unpick it and this makes it easier for me to explain/teach to my learners. Whereas English which I am good at and enjoy on a personal level, I hate teaching and avoid at all costs.
     
  9. missjkd

    missjkd New commenter

    May I suggest the OU Maths education courses? ME 625 and ME 527 are courses written by John Mason, an international expert in the field and will really help you become a good Math teacher, particularly as you were most likely taught Maths in a fairl traditional manner. The other thing to consider is where you do your PGCE. Read some of the research produced by the course leaders to get an idea of the style of mathematics teaching you will learn.
     
  10. speccyteacher

    speccyteacher New commenter

    Folks I have taught maths now for 10 years...never trained in maths but needed to get a job at some point!
    Got A Level maths at a D![*]
    Still I have taught A Level and most other abilities and levels!
    Sure knowledge of the work is fine but it is more important to bring it to life than to spoon feed.
    Universities are complaining about students with a total lack of skills - this is our fault, we are spooning into their mouths to pass exams.
    If we start to give them the skills then they can teach themselves. How else did I learn to teach As Stats?
    I have really stuggled with the low low ability though - this takes careful understanding about number etc - I dont have that skill

     
  11. But it is not just about delivering the content is it?

    Even when we teach the basics it forms a small part of a very big mathematics picture

    A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, as they ay
     
  12. I don't think is a shortage of maths teachers now. As a mature career-changer candidate who has just completed a PGCE (Maths) I have applied for 20 jobs and had 6 interviews. There are anything up to 6 candidates interviewed for one post. The situation has dramatically changed from even one year ago
     
  13. Are you thinking of distance learning? At present, the problem seems not so much to be getting a job when you have completed as to getting placements when you are training. By law you must have placements in two different schools, and in the last year or so lots of PCGE students either cannot get a placement or the ones arranged fall through because the school decides they cannot cope with a student (maybe they have just employed a couple of NQTs). People give up work because they get a tax free bursary, only to find training takes a couple of years rather than the one they had planned. I know a couple of people stuck in limbo trying to arrange placements for the 24 weeks required (maths and science).
    Also if you are nearing 40 (I'm past that mark), try and get some experience in a school to observe what goes on. The behaviour of pupils has changed a lot during the past decades, and it can be miserable for the first few years until you are established in a school. During my teaching practice, a number of staff were actively looking for jobs in the independent sector because they were fed up with the behaviour. Though, there were others who loved it.
     
  14. in the West Mids there are still lots of PGCErs going for jobs at the moment. Schools are interviewing up to 6 candidates for one job and many more are applying. I don't believe it is not a problem to get a job. A year or two ago schools struggled to get a "field" of candidates.
     
  15. DM

    DM New commenter

    The fact that hundreds of schools nationwide do not have fully staffed mathematics departments suggests otherwise. I presume you too are unable/unwilling to seek work beyond one particular area?
     
  16. Hi, have you considered the Graduate Teaching Programme? Trains you to become teachers whilst working in a placement.
     

  17. My 13year old son (gifted & talented at Maths) just answered your question with:
    'knows the subject, fun, enjoys being with you and explaining things well even to dumbasses...'
    Does this help?!?!!![​IMG]
     
  18. If you find maths exciting and you like to explore methods and solutions you have the potential to be a good maths teacher. Having a 'grasshopper' mind, looking for different approaches excites children. If you are excited, you will excite your pupils. Give it a go! I've been teaching maths for 30ish years and I still love it!
     
  19. I've just completed a PGCE (Primary) and to be quite frank, unless you have absolutely sterling childcare, someone who is able to take your child early in the morning until at least 6 in the evening (and then it needs to sleep pretty quickly so you can work for another 4 hours each night) I wouldn't bother. The PGCE course is pretty horrendous and for the last 2 years has also involved assignments at Masters level. No-one on my course had any idea that it would be so difficult and those of us with dependents felt it most. Sacrificing time with your own children to plan lessons for other children can feel quite peverse.


     
  20. .....sorry, that should read perverse!
     

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