The Scholar Hot seat: “Maths is Everywhere!”
“Go down deep enough into anything and you will find Mathematics” the famous Dean Schlicter once said. He couldn’t be more right, particularly in today’s busy and increasingly data-based world. Maths is everywhere, from classroom whiteboards to data science to large-scale parallel numerical simulations. The world needs great mathematicians – including great Maths teachers – to keep up with demand.
Being a Mathematics teacher certainly has its perks. Imparting knowledge, watching students grow and realise their potential is more than sufficient for most of us. But beyond the day-to-day inspiration there is plenty to be gained professionally and academically from teaching Maths.
For instance, you can attend various CPD events that provide fresh and exciting ideas about how to inspire pupils. You learn about new activities, games and career opportunities that help diversify lessons and stretch pupils in their mathematical abilities. Moreover, these events give you the opportunity to network with other scholars, visiting speakers and various mathematical societies (IMA, RSS, etc.)
Overall the experience is thoroughly enriching. You gain a deeper understanding of how everyone in the industry envisages mathematical education. You also realise just how vital it is to promote both the teaching of mathematics and awareness of Maths in the world around us.
My teaching has already directly benefitted from the ideas I have picked up at scholarship events. For instance, I like to focus on mathematical careers that pupils might wish to enter after leaving school. I endeavour to make connections between every topic I teach and interesting mathematical problems, other subjects (such as geography and science), or any given area of mathematics. In a recent lesson on statistics, for example, I talked about the correlation between GDP and the Olympic medal table. We discussed parts of the topic that are not covered at GCSE level (such as correlation coefficients) which provided a rich discussion and inspired the pupils to learn more about data science. This was a great feeling that I won’t quickly forget!
I sincerely hope that I will continue to benefit over the course of the scheme. The extent of resources available, places such as the National STEM Centre and the various societies I am now a member of will serve me well.
This scholarship programme is helping me to inspire children to both appreciate mathematics more and look into the possibility of a STEM career. It’s been a fantastic experience so far.