What Advice Would You Give Someone Considering A Career As A Secondary Mathematics Teacher?
I think the main thing when you’re considering whether a career as a secondary mathematics teacher would be right for you is to get some experience related to the job and see if you enjoy it. This doesn’t have to be directly working in a school, although I know people who worked as TAs/ cover supervisors before applying to teaching. Any experience that involves working with children/ young adults or explaining maths concepts is worthwhile – as you’ll get a feel for whether it’s something you like doing. There’s lots of great opportunities, sometimes offered through University or school or even within the local community including; mentoring other students, STEM teaching internships or volunteering at clubs.
The next step is to talk to some current trainee teachers or teachers to get their first-hand experience about the training programme and also the more day-to-day life as a teacher. If you don’t know any personally, there’s Facebook groups such as ‘Gals Who Teach’ or the ‘Get into Teaching Support Group’ with like-minded people who would love to help you with any questions!
Once you’ve made your decision, all the different routes into teaching can be so overwhelming. It can be difficult to find out what is different about each one and which is right for you. Going to open days can be really useful to help you get a feel for the training provider and what the course entails. I’d say the main thing to remember is that every teacher training course follows the same standards and requirements so whatever provider you choose, you will have at least 120 days in school and teach in at least 2 different schools and with most you will finish the course with the same qualification. So, don’t worry too much about this as with all providers you will get the same opportunity in schools!
Interviews can be daunting, but they’re as much about you getting to know them as they are them getting to know you! My interviews really helped me decide which course I preferred and be confident in my decision. They can have quite a few different parts but if you follow the brief and remember they’re not looking for a perfect teacher – just someone enthusiastic about teaching and keen to learn, you’ll be fine!
Finally, I’d say definitely consider applying for the Mathematics Teacher Training Scholarship as it’s a great extra source of resources and also a great way to meet people from all over the country.
By Libby Smith
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