Maths Scholars and PGCE What I wish I knew

Andrea Galinho

Andrea Galinho Maths Scholar 2016-2017

There is more to teaching than meets the PGCE eye. What I am about to share are not regrets but rather information that would have put the PGCE year into perspective.

First and foremost, know what you’re getting into with the PGCE. Research how your course is run and assessed. I wish I had known that even though, you may pass the PGCE – which recommends you for Qualified Teaching Status (QTS) – only when you’ve actually passing your NQT year do you become fully qualified. Now, the NQT year is a pass or fail. Last time I checked, people are not able to retake this year, if you so happened to fail.

Having only realised this half way through my course it pushed me to into panic mode, thinking about the following year and what the demands of that year were going to be. Having this piece of information gave all my efforts more purpose, thinking not only about my teaching for this PGCE year but also for the following year. Had I have known, I could have built on ideas and resources from much earlier! Understanding the assessment process, put the course into perspective. 

Top Tip: look out for scholarships and continuous professional development (CPD) opportunities that will build your teacher profile. The Maths Scholars scheme run some fantastic events throughout the year.

On the topic of resources, one of the main lessons I have learnt particularly from the transition from school placement 1 to placement 2 is to value your resources. Build a resource file. Being able to pull out resources from a file when you need to teach another lesson on the same topic, not only saves you time but allows you to gain insight into how the same activity can be adapted for different abilities and ages.

Here's the solution

Top Tip: Take time making your resources first time around – organise your folders and save files with (correctly spelt) keywords from the topic so they are easy to find again! Another very important and key note on the topic of resources is ANSWERS. Finding a worksheet is often very simple, though more often than not there is not attachment with solutions and then you’re faced with a group of 30 students asking if their work is correct… Ergh. 

If you have the time to work solutions out yourself then all the greater understanding you’ll have of what the activity demands of the students, if not search online for activities with solutions. Either way be prepared or be squared with having to do mental maths 30 times over. 

Top Tip: If you have a chance to look over the curriculum, do so! Think how you would teach a particular topic and gather some resources.

Lastly, I wish I had known, how little I know. I have found myself learning topics, which I thought I knew really well and founding way more out about their intricacies. As much as you are teaching, you will be learning, so be patient and persevere!