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Where are all the maths teachers?

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by Elfrune, Dec 1, 2015.

  1. DHoD07

    DHoD07 New commenter

    My cut on all this is that most teachers in the profession are not motivated. They are made to feel useless. Every year they shift the goal post and expect everyone to rise to the challenge because learning is linear and every year we need to improve no matter what the ability of the cohort is like.
    The situation is going to get worse with the new GCSE 1-9. Pupils will need to be taught problem solving which in some cases I see teachers having problems with!
    It is true that before the new GCSE there was a shortage of Maths teachers. With the extra time allocated to maths then this only increases the demand of more maths teachers. Naturally if there was a problem before then the government has just amplified it!
    Then there is the case of your books need to all look like this, your lessons have to have 3, 4 or 5 parts, you have to assess and mark lengthy exam papers every half term, you have to make HW in a specific way and when giving it back include a follow up question. Some schools want to see the whole weeks lesson plans on monday. What is this all for? Ofsted! Seems like we are surviving from one holiday to the next!
    Then there is ridiculous PM targets which set you up to fail before you can get started. I can go on all day...
  2. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    Except it isn't for Ofsted. Ofsted are quite clear that they don't expect to see any of that.

    IF there's a shortage of maths teachers, it's because most school 'leaders' are utterly incompetent and place inappropriate and unreasonable demands on people who have ample opportunities for employment elsewhere.
    donrickles, cach9801, DHoD07 and 2 others like this.
  3. moontitan

    moontitan Occasional commenter

    I am planning on handing in my notice this Friday. I work at an independent school, class sizes are smaller but we set more regular homework. The school has created a Marking Inspection team which has created a ridiculous amount of pressure. There are lots of other silly inventions........why?.......yes inspections, you guessed it.
    Lots of staff are handing in their notice due to the unrealistic demands and once it's handed in, well I know I will not give a damn about anything other than my lessons.
    So do they want lots of staff who do not give a **** when the inspectors come?
    Independent or state, maths teachers can make the same money with a lot less stress elsewhere, tutoring is lucrative.

    I am thinking of starting a free school, which has a strong emphasis on teaching and learning, reduced lessons, minimal admin, supportive management. Ethos- staff retention, equip staff to deliver high quality lessons.

    May just be a dream.
    donrickles and colinbillett like this.
  4. googolplex

    googolplex Occasional commenter

    What, on earth, are 'Reduced lessons'..?
    Whatever these are aside, I don't think there's a school in the land which wouldn't claim to aspire to the rest of your dream.
    A bit like all those 'innovative, high achieving' schools out there wanting to appoint 'dynamic classroom practitioners', what's going to make your school so different from the others?
  5. moontitan

    moontitan Occasional commenter

    googleplex- I did say it may be a dream!

    Reduced lessons-I meant less lesson allocation, it is what they do in International schools, it gives teachers more time to spend on lesson planning.
    How my "dream" would be different: no unnecessary admin, no over the top prep for inspection, no written comments as feedback(nonsense), verbal feedback instead, expel students when necessary, I could go on- my idea is to retain good maths teachers.
    We all know those schools that say "innovative high achieving.."ads are saying a load of cods-wallop!
  6. Penny10p

    Penny10p Occasional commenter

    I am interested in this view because I am a non maths specialist who would like to become a Maths teacher. My main subject is IT but I am very interested in maths and have taught a class for the past two years. I am hoping to move from abroad to the London area in September. There are lots of Maths positions advertised but I have not applied because I do not have a Maths degree. Does anyone know what the chances of schools employing someone like me and giving them extra training in Maths teaching? I looked into short conversion type courses a couple of years ago but you had to be teaching in a school to go them.
  7. adamcreen

    adamcreen Occasional commenter

    There is a very good chance. Visit and register with the https://getintoteaching.education.gov.uk/ website as you will get individual Premier Plus support as you are interested in teaching a shortage subject. You may be eligible for a £25,000 bursary for training, and there is a massive shortage of Maths teachers. Not having a Maths degree is not a problem for many training institutions.
  8. BillyBobJoe

    BillyBobJoe Lead commenter

    I don't know what it's like these days, but when I was training one of my placement schools employed an IT teacher on a temporary basis to teach maths. You lose nothing by applying, particularly if you emphasise your desire to move into maths teaching on a permanent basis.
  9. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    How things have changed. I was offered my first teaching job under the condition that I may have to teach some IT!
  10. hummy1999

    hummy1999 New commenter

    To answer the question, asked initially, "where have all the teachers gone?", one only has to look at TES's job section and look at the numbers international jobs advertised daily there.

    I am based in an international school, in the Arab part of the world. With better pay and other benefits, one has to ask why shouldn't these experienced teachers find good jobs elsewhere in the world. I am not surprised by the lack of teacher teaching mathematics, or English back home, because they are being pulled by the charm of financial benefits available to them in the Arab and Asian world.

    Footballers, sports related individual, TV celebrities get paid lots to entertain us, but in a country where teachers are one of the lowest paid, is it a surprise they venture to greener pastures?! Surely Education, Medicine, etc. should be considered as the basic need of a society and should be one of the highest paid jobs. Countries like Switzerland, Netherlands have high salaries for teachers, surely we should not only learn about their impressive education system but also about how to retain teachers.
    Aisha633 likes this.
  11. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    For most people, it's not about the money. In fact, assuming it is about the money is precisely the mistake made by people advocating Performance Related Pay.

    Once people have "enough", money is not the issue. People will leave jobs and go into other areas because pay is too low (and that is certainly the case in teaching in parts of the South East), but almost no one who is happy in their work leaves a job for more money once the "too low" threshold is passed.

    Even in sales, the motivation is "cutting the deal", not the money. Money is the way salespeople keep the score. A good salesperson knows they're good because they have a 5 series BMW where an 'average' salesperson only warrants a 3 series.

    Teachers are not, in general, leaving because of the money. Those who aren't getting enough money yet actually like teaching and the workload that comes with it supplement their incomes with exam marking, summer school work and the like.

    What's driving teachers out is the workload. And this isn't government imposed workload, it's imposed by other teachers.

    I despair when I read newly-promoted department heads asking if anyone has a lesson observation pro-forma or a book scrutiny pro-former they can have. These people think their job is to crack down on their lazy underlings and enforce school polices.

    Well, there's the reason for the shortage. The job of the Head of Department is to be "First Among Equals" - to support their teachers to do the job of teaching. To keep daft whole-school directives about nonsense like triple marking away from their peers, not to force already overworked professionals to do more stuff that doesn't actually aid the kids.

    Until that's recognised and dealt with, the shortages will only get worse. (Or, of course, come the next recession, when people with good degrees are desperate for any source of a couple of years employment no matter what the workload.)
    donrickles likes this.
  12. davidmu

    davidmu Occasional commenter

    One has only to look at some of the adverts to see why some schools have few or no applicants for vacancies. The hype that some HTs put into their demands make even high ability teachers decide not to apply. A more moderate approach might obtain a wider response.
    donrickles and colinbillett like this.
  13. pwarps23

    pwarps23 New commenter

    My husband is wanting to do secondary maths teacher training and applied to Teach First. He got rejected on the basis he has a 'C' in his maths A level. However, his qualifications are as follows; degree, masters and PhD. The response was that his degree was not in a subject (it is a building surveying degree). Additionally, his PhD was in construction and economics! Furthermore, he has had lectured in economics. I am amazed that they are crying out for maths teachers and yet, based on his A levels he is not able to get on the course! Also, when he has spoken to 'Get into teaching' they just refer to a website and very unhelpful!
  14. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    There may be a lot of truth in this. We recently advertised for a maths position and had over a hundred applicants.
  15. Yoda-

    Yoda- Lead commenter

    Where are all the maths teachers?

    Somewhere they feel more valued.
    wanet likes this.
  16. lizziescat

    lizziescat Star commenter

    (my emphasis)

    ...and this is the basic (only?) underlying assumption and ethos of education today. From this flows all other points made above.(as well as the endless policies etc)

    Tinkering with the system changes nothing whilst those above (and this filters down from Govt ministers, via OFSTED to school management and HoD) believe that those below are not only incompetent but lazy. Sadly I think we are seeing the last of the 'old style' heads, who respected as equals those who were still in the classroom, leaving/retiring.

    (EDIT: sorry PaulDG i didn't mean my 'out of context' quote to look as if you subscribed to the lazy underlings school of thought.)
    donrickles likes this.
  17. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    I am sorry, but I am not convinced that a C at Maths A level is sufficient for somebody who would be likely to teach GCSE Maths. A C can conceal some problems with the sort of Algebra that is needed. If your husband is serious about this, perhaps he should retake the A level, to show that his basic skills are now up to the job.
  18. googolplex

    googolplex Occasional commenter

    I feel compelled, as ever, to redress the balance, here, as one of 'these people'. We're not all as Paul makes out - perhaps he worked with a few bad 'uns over the years. I don't disagree with the rest of the quote.
    Having also worked in senior management, I do despair at the incompetence there and the widely held view amongst some SLT that many teachers are incompetent
    donrickles likes this.
  19. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    I suspect that more HoDs are like this than you would think. Provided they are teaching seomething not too far off a full timetable, they will understand the pressures that their colleagues face. It is SLT with mimimal timetables who create work, safe in the knowledge that it doesn't hurt them. And, probably, put pressure on newly promoted HoDs to behave as you suggest.
    donrickles and wanet like this.
  20. davidmu

    davidmu Occasional commenter

    All mathematics teachers should read the White Paper on Education just available in the Educational news section. Interesting reading!

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