Before starting as a PGCE student, I was a part-time tutor, teaching Mathematics to secondary school students for about two and a half years. During that time, my appreciation for teaching the subject has increased to the point where I felt that I could teach the subject full-time at a secondary level.

I am currently doing my PGCE in Secondary Mathematics over at Newman University in Birmingham, and I have learnt quite a lot over the past few weeks. First and foremost, teaching a classroom of children is very different to teaching on a 1-1 basis, so lesson planning and execution is very important. You need to have a clear idea of what the students have covered previously, as well as their pace of learning, to determine how a topic should be taught. Also, the kid’s behaviour in classrooms need to be considered as it is much harder work to control a class of thirty students compared to one. We have gone through different scenarios that may occur in the classroom and how best to deal with them.

Just recently, we have been asked to present a micro-teach session in pairs in which we could cover any topic we wanted, along with a completed lesson plan. Our pair covered the expansion of two brackets. Presenting this in front of my peers, I made use of both powerpoint and the whiteboard to teach the introduction of this topic. This session has proven to be valuable in terms of learning my current strengths and weaknesses when teaching a topic, and I look to work on my weaknesses before I start my placement.

We have also gone through learning theories related to the teaching of Mathematics, and how the teaching approach has shifted through the years from behavioural/instructional to a more constructive approach. We have gone through various constructivist learning theories including theory of multiple intelligences, cognitive development, human developmental theory, and learning as a discovery. This has given us an insight as to what kind of Mathematics teacher we want to be.

Currently, we are about to go through assessment and differentiation. I should find out my placement very soon. I will try to take in as much as I can before I start my placement, and I look forward to starting my placement, and starting my teaching journey.

By Harvind Arjun Rai