How I got into Maths Teaching

Rebecca SharpeStarting with my own school experience, I was one of those students who really enjoyed going to school, with the opportunity to learn lots of different subjects and getting to see my friends. I was a typical straight-A student that worked hard to get the grades I wanted. Particularly in Maths, I was not ‘naturally gifted’ but would always ask for help and I was keen to understand the problems I was faced with. This was an aspect that my teachers would positively pick up on and aid in my development.

Then, in year 11, I was diagnosed with Scoliosis (curvature of the spine). I had no idea how this would affect me and my future career. After an operation and many months out of Sixth Form, I was significantly behind on my studies and never really caught up (don’t worry, it gets better)! I decided to get a job at a restaurant and worked my way up to Assistant Manager within the year. Here, I was responsible for the end of period figures and stock information. This displayed to me the importance of Mathematics in real jobs and the ways that I could transfer what I had learnt in my maths GCSE and A level. After a year in my managerial position, I was scrolling through courses in clearing at York St John University. One course stood out to me in particular ‘Education Studies with Special Educational Needs and Inclusion’. I had continued volunteering weekly after Sixth Form in various primary schools and special education schools and realised that I wanted to pursue my education at university. After a brief 3-minute phone call with York St John, I was accepted! I could not believe it as I had thought I would not be able to continue into higher education with my current UCAS points, and that I would require further qualifications to enable this. The following day, I visited the university and handed in my notice at my restaurant job. Onwards and upwards!

After a semester abroad and placement in a secondary school alongside my degree (which led to a part-time TA job alongside my final year at university), I saw the difference that I was able to make to student understanding of Maths. Being able to see the ways that students thought and the triumph of being able to understand the process, I knew this was the job for me. I enquired with the partner training provider as to my options and having interviewed successfully, was signed up to a Subject Knowledge Enhancement Course which I completed prior to my teacher training. I am now into my second placement as a trainee Maths teacher and enjoying every moment.

By Rebecca Sharpe