How being a Maths Scholar benefited me
Back in the summer, I was in a maize maze, completely lost, trying to find the centre. This is what the curriculum can feel like for students, a maze, lots of random pathways of knowledge, with a target of a qualification somewhere. We are in such a privileged position to guide students through this maze of knowledge, to make connections, and provide the clear pathway so they can love maths as much as we do and it is through the scholarship that I feel much more able to enrich students’ mathematical journey.
In my school, I lead KS3 in the department. As part of this, I redeveloped the curriculum to clarify the journey and make it more memorable for students, by using what I have learnt from the CPD events and professional memberships. For example, we had a session on codebreaking and a super visit to Bletchley Park. I tried out some of the ideas during my PGCE, and they really enhanced the curriculum experience for the students. Now I am in the privileged position to set our KS3 curriculum, all students study cryptography.
I took on KS3 at the end of my first year of teaching, and I’ve no doubt that being a Scholar contributed to my confidence to go for it, and the impact that I was having in the classroom, due to the additional CPD and resources, that helped me to secure the responsibilities. Running CPD for the department was a strange feeling in my second year of teaching, but it was as a result of keeping up to date with research from the professional memberships that allowed me to share this and impact the practice of the department. This led to a middle leader course which I am just about to finish - all stemming from the Scholarship and the invaluable CPD it provides.
It’s not just the content of the CPD events that makes them so worthwhile, it’s also the network that you build. During my PGCE it was very easy to network with the students on the course - we saw each other every day, and we were able to bounce ideas off each other. We were going through the same programme, having the same challenges, and a similar experience.
When I turned up at the first Scholarship event, it was fantastic to speak to a much larger network of people from all round the country, finding all the challenges that we were facing were similar and worries that were universal, but equally we were celebrating our successes as we were beginning our career and already inspiring the next generation of mathematicians. It was brilliant to speak to likeminded Scholars, and catch up at each of the CPD events throughout the year, to see how each of us was getting on in our training, and sharing resources and ideas to continue to develop our practice. I am just starting my 5th year of teaching, and still benefit from every one of the CPD events, picking up nuggets of wisdom, and bringing back practical ideas that I can use to keep getting better.
On the theme of wisdom, here are some nuggets of wisdom from me:
- Attend every CPD event you can - you miss 100% if the chances that you do not take
- You may be chomping at the bit to teach lessons, but you won’t have the opportunity to observe so many lessons again for quite a while - it’s always such a privilege
- Everyone is there to support you - don’t bottle it up, we all want you to succeed
- You will make mistakes and have lessons that don’t go to plan - students are very forgiving, so don’t be too harsh on yourself
- You are now part of a fantastic community of Scholars, which is the best possible start to your career, and you can use your passion to make a real difference to the lives of your students which is the greatest privilege
Maths Scholar 2017/18
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