Maths Scholars love the school holidays

Maths Scholar for 2016-17.png

It’s not too late to apply to be a Maths Scholar for 2016/17

Maths is my life for most of the year but when August ticks over I start to panic. Even the air begins to smell different and there is a slight nip in the early morning and as the sun drops. Bearing in mind we lose three minutes of light per day after the longest day in June, it’s not surprising we can already sense a difference. Even though this is not even half way through the summer holidays we know September is just 30 days away.

The study desk has stacks of paper in geological layers

Maths Books in Table

For those in teaching the academic year punctuates everything – even diaries run from September to August. It’s at this time of year I find myself sitting in the study surrounded by papers. After almost a full academic year, August is the time where I undertake some judicious pruning. Anyone not in teaching will find it hard to comprehend a teachers’ ability to hoard paper. Not bad, considering we were moving into a paperless society a decade ago. The things I cannot bear to throw out (just in case) are destined for the loft. I may be tempted not to look in there if I ever move. Why is it so hard to throw away old textbooks, thank you cards etc.?

Where did the summer go?

Although August marches inexorably towards September it’s a great time to think, plan, follow the less well-trodden path and do some of the things I have promised myself all year. It always amazes me how different my reflection is at the end of the summer holidays as I gaze in the mirror. I almost look human. It also amazes me how after just a couple of coffees, a CPD session and a sit down in ‘my’ staffroom chair the summer holidays vanish like a spell broken.

The joy of teaching is the promotion of endless curiosity

Teaching is not for everyone, of course, but for those who make it their career it is always exciting. When you deal with people always expect the unexpected. Teachers also spend their down time soaking up information and even during the holidays are collecting leaflets, websites, articles and paraphernalia that might just be useful for a year 9 or an A -level class. That’s the real joy of teaching; it promotes curiosity and constantly pushes the boundaries. Even if you teach the same lesson it is never exactly the same – students are different and the way you approach things differs from day to day.

September brings a brand new Maths A level course

When we return in September there will be a new maths GCSE to sit in 2017 and new Maths A level syllabuses to test memory and ingenuity. I always look forward to meeting new classes and see September as a puppy-walking time where students are trained to meet the expectations of a mathematical culture. They are always so well behaved in their new uniforms too! My GCSE sets walk in, looking like giraffes. What have they been eating over the summer to end up looking so tall?

Meanwhile I balance study reorganization with ice cream making. 

Cherry Garcia ice cream

What would you do with a long summer holiday?

I have just discovered an amazing recipe for Cherry Garcia ice cream.  I listen to the radio and glean all kinds of snippets to squirrel away for one of my ‘oh no, Miss, not another anecdote, save us, moments!’  Yesterday was the story of the man who scribbled on a £10 note and spent the money. Incredibly a friend received the note from an ATM machine, ten years later – contacted him and said: ‘Is this yours?’ The probability of this happening is rarer than hens’ teeth but I will use it as an example in class. Today it’s women in top earning jobs; will be worth studying the stats on that for a starter.

CPD, Maths hubs and online communities

I am also looking at all the courses that are around in the autumn and to be honest, I can’t wait. The free lectures at Gresham College are on my to do list for starters. I am noting down Maths hub meeting dates and catching up with online tweeps.  It’s definitely worth following @Beamathsteacher if you haven’t already. I am also looking forward to welcoming potential Maths scholars at the August assessment centres too. Amazingly, the last day for applications is 22nd August. So what are you waiting for? You too can enjoy a long summer holiday and a chance to explore your own interests after a rewarding academic year’s work teaching maths. Go on, you know you want to apply to be a Maths Scholar.

We publish a blog on the Maths Scholars site every week. If you’d like to contribute your own ‘View from Here’ we’d love to hear from you. We just need between 500-750 words, some good quality images and an original perspective. Do get in touch via Twitter @Beamathsteacher and the platform is all yours!

Creating a mathematical culture banner

You too can create a study like mine, deal with thousands of young people that have such a brilliant perspective on life and remain curious. The downside is you are still carrying a pencil case around in your mid 40s but it’s a small price to pay for an inspirational career as a maths teacher.

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