United Teaching maths trainee Corin came to the course through Future Teaching Scholars, a six-year teacher training programme for physics and maths, taking you from your first year of university to your third year of teaching. Here she tells us more about why she loves teaching maths and what she’s looking forward to.
Why did you decide to become a teacher?
For as long as I can remember it has been exciting to just know stuff. The cleverer the stuff was, or the more it explained why something worked, the more I wanted to know about it. I would revel at being able to interject into a conversation to say, ‘actually, I know why that happens,’ and I loved it even more when a friend was able to use something I had taught them to do exactly the same thing. As I became older, I was always the first to volunteer to help my friends with their homework and even during university I still tutored my siblings and their friends for their upcoming GCSEs. I decided to become a teacher because it was so satisfying to see people excited to use their knowledge too and think ‘hey, I taught them that!’
Can you tell us a bit more about Future Teaching Scholars and why you decided to enrol in it?
Before starting my first year at university, I applied to the Future Teaching Scholars programme. I already knew that once I had left university to study maths I wanted to go into secondary school teaching, and so I decided to join so that I was surrounded by other like-minded and driven future teachers. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I have made; there were so many opportunities to learn about school life and develop my pedagogy as well as visiting outstanding schools early to see some high-quality teaching and learning take place. On top of this, the programme supported me both financially and with securing a job once I left university. It is hugely helpful even today having a network of experienced professionals and other new teachers to rely upon whenever I need it!
What’s the best thing about teaching maths?
I’ve always felt like maths underpins every subject – it doesn’t matter what it is, it probably has some maths in it somewhere. I love being able to connect the maths to my students’ interests and showing them how we can fit what we are learning in class to something that they never expected. I also love the times where a long and complicated problem can be broken down into smaller steps to provide a beautifully simple solution. Even my students who claim to hate maths with a passion cannot deny how satisfying it is when you finally finish a problem and write out that final answer at the end.
What have been your highlights this year?
Apart from when I realised that I knew all of the names of the students in my classes, my all-time favourite moment was the first time some of my students came back to my classroom at the end of the school day. Initially, I thought they might be back to ask about getting some help with homework, but they actually wanted to show me some of the extra work they did outside of class and asked about some of the weirder and interesting maths they had seen when on the internet. I remember being so excited after this that I had to phone home to tell the whole family about it!
Looking ahead, what are you looking forward to, for your NQT year and beyond?
Next year I am really looking forward to being able to teach the final year of GCSE maths to my current Year 10 group. I can’t wait to see the culmination of all of their efforts on results day and know that I helped them to achieve that. I’m also excited to be able to go on more school trips and other activities that I had to miss out on this year due to the schools closing early.