United Teaching Blog

Why train to teach maths?

10/06/2022

If you have a passion for numbers, data and formulae, wouldn’t it be great to inspire the next generation of mathematicians, statisticians, economists, computer scientists, and engineers? 

Mathematics is undeniably exciting – it underpins everything that we do and governs the way the universe works. Aristotle wrote that “The mathematical sciences particularly exhibit order, symmetry, and limitation; and these are the greatest forms of the beautiful”, and according to Einstein it is mathematics that offers the exact natural sciences a certain measure of security that they could not attain without the subject. So, beauty. and objectivity wrapped up in one subject! 

 

So, what are our United Teaching trainees saying about teaching maths? 

"Teaching an amazing maths lesson isn't about all the bells and whistles. It's that one rare moment where you unpick and unpack a mathematical concept in such a way that a once daunting topic instantly becomes accessible for students, and you see lightbulbs turning on around the room. It's often the topics you wouldn't expect that throw a curveball in your path because you can't quite remember ever struggling with them yourself, or how to deconstruct the concept to a level to help students grasp how it works. One topic I have found so interesting to teach has been directed number because students really struggle to grasp the concept. I tried so many different ways to approach it and the same misconceptions were still arising. I started to utilise whiteboard number lines and visual graphics of changes in direction on the screen and instantly I got the reaction, "Miss this is so easy I can't believe it!”" Abigail Harris, current maths trainee.

"When teaching my Year 10 class how to expand double brackets, I used the multiplication grid method. This lesson can be challenging, but the good thing about it is that while there are so many things that can go wrong, there are also so many things that can go correctly, even if the final answer is wrong. For me, it was pleasing every time a student said x multiplied by x is x2, or; when they recalled each grid entry was a product, rather than a sum; and when a student collected like terms to get the final answer. This was a good lesson, not because everyone got 100%, but because I could see students piecing together the steps and I helped them to recognise how much they could do, before building on what they couldn’t yet do." Holly Snowden, maths graduate.

 

Are you inspired to teach maths? 

To become a teacher of maths you need GCSEs (or equivalent) at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including Maths, English and Science, and a degree in a relevant subject. Perhaps you’ve been working in a maths-related field for some time already - we would love to talk to you if you are looking to change careers and become a maths teacher 

There are several routes into becoming a maths teacher. Salaried positions in the first training year are available, which means you’ll receive an unqualified teacher’s salary and start in September 2022 teaching on a timetable of 60-80% timetable, compared to a fully qualified teacher.  

Many people opt for the unsalaried route – choosing this route you’ll need to pay your tuition fees, but you’ll be entitled to apply for a student loan to cover fees and maintenance. Teaching maths, you’ll also be eligible for a government bursary of £24,000. You’ll start in September 2022 on a timetable of around 30% compared to a fully qualified teacher, gradually rising to 80% by Term 3. You can read more about it here. 

Still interested? If you have the maths knowledge and the passion to share it, we have the tools to help you become an inspirational teacher. Take a look at our blog for more student teacher experiences or apply now. 

 

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