Why I love being a maths teacher
We don’t mind the odd spot of eavesdropping, so we thought we’d go hunting through teacher forums and online articles to discover what experienced maths teachers have to say about their working lives. Thinking about becoming a maths teacher? Read on!
“I didn't choose it, it chose me!” says this teacher on the TES forums. “I was teaching elsewhere. I retrained and never looked back. Specifically, I enjoy puzzles, crosswords, etc. Sitting down and working through an A-level textbook is just as satisfying. So, working with maths all day is great! Being a Head of Maths is the best job I've ever done. I have always really enjoyed working with kids. I enjoy the relative perceived importance of maths over most other subjects. I enjoy the challenge of the subject both personally, and in terms of the way I can bring it across to others. I like the creativity involved in teaching. I much appreciate the camaraderie amongst the teaching community. I greatly appreciate any job which will give me 13 weeks holiday per year, so I can live a little.”
“Teaching maths to kids who don't want to be there is one of the most difficult jobs in the world,” says another teacher in the TES community. “But when you get their trust and you get their intrinsic motivation going, it is the most rewarding. It does take spark and personality to get there.”
In an interview with the BBC, Michael Steer says that teaching was the last thing he wanted to do when he left education, but after trying out other careers and feeling uncomfortable about them, he decided to give teaching a go, and hasn’t looked back. “I was completely surprised that I fell in love with teaching as quickly as I did, and although you don’t have to be a stunning mathematician to teach all subjects, I’ve found that my ability with maths has been essential in securing a senior post in my field and has opened up opportunities I never thought possible, to the point where I’m one step away from a headship and all the responsibility that comes with it. I am in the rarefied position of absolutely loving my job and relishing the challenges it throws up.”
“Despite all of the drawbacks, the simple truth is that if you can help make a difference to a child's life then you will go home happy,” says this maths teacher in the TES forums. “Even if >90% of the kids don't appreciate what you are trying to do, that minority makes the job worth it.”
In an interview with NowTeach, Matthew Eastmond discusses how he ditched a well-paid career as an engineer to pursue a job as a maths teacher. He visited a school to see what it was like. “I sat in the back of a lesson and after 30 seconds I knew this was what I wanted to do. I felt I had a real vocation. [However the transition] was the most difficult year of my life. I’ve never worked so hard – ever. Your time is taken up with planning and marking – you prepare one lesson and then there are eight more – and it’s the same thing every day. In week two, after a bad lesson with year 8, I burst into tears.” But he persevered and today is glad he did. “It’s 100 per cent absorbing. When I’m teaching I never think of anything else. It’s a flow state – I feel more alive.”
Feeling inspired yet? If you’re considering a career change, then how about exploring the world of maths teaching? And of course, a tax-free bursary scholarship will certainly help make the transition much easier. Find out more by reading our FAQs and get your application in soon!