What inspired you to want to become a maths teacher?

For the last few years of my high school, I had the absolute joy to be taught by Miss P. Her unwavering confidence, high expectations and enthusiasm for me as a student and a maths teacher inspired me to begin on the journey I am now on. 

Miss P was unapologetically, infectiously joyous about maths, leading fun events like Pi day celebrations, UKMT challenges and the STEM club. We had many conversations about maths but also the world and our place in it. She introduced me to the wonders of the way that maths is not only procedural but also creative and fun. 

Her passion was consistently shared with us, from before we entered the classroom to the moment we left. I remember one notable time we were lining up outside the class and she told us “y=mx+c!” Initially we were confused because we were just chatting and not in the maths brain space yet but we figured it out and hastily formed a better approximation of a straight line. On a related note of geometry, if she found out that anyone had forgotten a formula for area or circumference of a circle, we would be subjected to the Circle Song: ”Here is a circle, it knows how to get around, it has a radius from centre to rim (bom bom bom bom)…” We would (of course) feign protest but it was all in good spirits, and the knowledge is certainly deeply ingrained in my long-term memory.

I have to admit to being *that* student who was always finished before the rest and so as well as stretching me academically, she used to get me to help my peers. This was my first teaching experience and Miss P would share ideas on how to support others - using manipulatives, selecting appropriate examples and methods, and the importance of identifying and correcting misconceptions. It was in her classroom that I first helped someone else have “the lightbulb moment” and I remember being so unbelievably excited by this. She shared my excitement and always had full faith in my abilities.

It is my (ambitious but achievable) goal to eventually become the “Miss P” for a whole other generation of students. Miss P taught us to never coast, to always push ourselves to be the best we can be, and having applied this principle to my GCSEs, A-Levels and degree, I now apply it to my PGCE. Just before our GCSEs, Miss P gave us a postcard with a note and a “lucky penny (not needed).” On mine, she wrote the quote attributed to Aristotle: “we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then is not an act, but a habit.”

By Ivy Oldroyd


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