How to get the most out of your Mathematics Teacher Training Scholarship
Congratulations on becoming a Mathematics Teacher Training Scholar - this is a prestigious scheme which attracts large numbers of applications, so you can already give yourself a big pat on the back for being accepted.
Now it is time to start making the most of the scheme, and the extra benefits which it will give you on top of your standard teacher training.
All Maths Teaching Scholars will have access to some incredible CPD events. You will be invited to at least two workshops, an organised trip, as well as a visit to the National STEM Learning Centre. Your training year will sometimes feel very busy, however it is worth making the time to attend these CPD events which often include well known and inspirational math speakers.
If you want to make the most of these CPD events, then try out some of the activities or approaches back in your placement schools - ideally as soon as possible. Speak to your school based mentor about what you have learnt and what you want to try out.
It can be easy to hear about great ideas and then forget about them, whereas if you use an activity once and it works well, it will be unforgettable and will stay with you. Read about how a past Scholar took an activity into a lunchtime club for gifted and talented students.
The great thing about teaching is that you can keep reusing activities every year, constantly adapting and updating them to suit different classes. This means that one good idea can help you for years to come.
It can also be really hard for schools to give you time out in the day for CPD once you are teaching full time, although this does vary a lot between different schools. This means that you should make the most of every opportunity during your training year.
Lots of experienced teachers will still say "I learnt about that idea on my PGCE". As a Maths Teaching Scholar you will have even more opportunities to learn.
The Scholar Community
CPD events are also a great way to meet other Scholars and network with them. Maths Teaching Scholars have been selected because of their potential to become outstanding and inspirational teachers, and as a group you will have an amazing amount of ideas and experiences between you. You will have opportunities to network with your fellow Scholars online, however nothing beats meeting them in person. Your PGCE course mates will all be based in the same geographical region as you, whereas Maths Teaching Scholars are spread all round the country. This means that you have access to a wealth of ideas, drawn from far and wide. It is no wonder that former Maths Teaching Scholars speak so highly of the CPD which has been on offer.
As a Maths Teaching Scholar you will become a member of five professional bodies.
IMA (Institute of Mathematics and its Applications)
LMS (London Mathematical Society)
RSS (Royal Statistical Society)
MEI (Mathematics in Education and Industry)
MA (Mathematical Association)
You will become a member for two years, giving you access to a large number of resources, including magazines, journals, discounted conferences and online resources. Take a look at the Scholarship Offer for details of what you will get. You will even have access to MEI’s Integral resources which normally cost £120 for an individual subscription.
It is really important to make the most of these resources. When you are busy lesson planning and writing essays, it can be hard to find time to read articles about teaching maths more effectively, or about the uses of maths in the real world. These resources can help you become a better teacher, give you ideas about improving your own practice and help you answer the all important question: "what is the point of maths?". Try and set aside a small amount of time each week to look through these resources. You will find that they end up saving you time and help you become a better teacher in the process.
Being a Scholar doesn't end here
Once you have finished your training year, you can carry on benefiting from being a Scholar. You can continue to network with your fellow Scholars, as well as extending your membership of one or more of the Professional Bodies. You might also become a Chartered Maths Teacher (through the IMA) once you have been teaching for five years.
Being a Maths Teaching Scholar is about a lot more than just a list of great benefits and a tax-free bursary. Former Scholars are the sort of people who want to constantly improve their approach to teaching, with many of them moving into positions of leadership. Hopefully being a Maths Scholar will just be the beginning.