My Experience As A Maths Scholar - By Abi Varathanathan



Hi, I’m Abi. I was awarded the Maths teacher training scholarship for academic year 2016/17. I recently joined the Maths Scholarships team of assessors. Some of you may recognise me from your assessment.

Looking back at my PGCE year, I already felt like I had the support of an entire community of Mathematicians and educators. When you start your teacher training, it can feel quite overwhelming. Initially, attending the Maths Scholars CPD events was more of a wind- down time for me more than anything. It’s so nice to spend the day talking to other scholars and just find out about how they’re getting on. Some weeks at school can feel very long and exhausting and I remember showing up to some of the CPD events very tired, but there’s so much energy at these events that you won’t feel tired for long and you’ll be leaving more inspired than ever.

One of my favourite things the scholarships team offer is Twitter hour. They invite a huge variety of Mathematicians and ask them to lead a discussion on twitter every month. I’ve never had twitter, but I made an account just to follow along and see what it was all about. I’ve found it to be the most amazing experience. I’ve had the chance to talk to people all the world and be inspired by what they do. That’s the thing with being a teacher, even if you’re not sure about something, just have a go. How you approach things will rub off on your students, so be open to all of these opportunities. 

Now, as a teacher going in my fourth year, I can honestly say it’s because of the scholarship that I’ve felt confident and brave enough to progress in my career. I run STEM club at my school, organise STEM trips, do assemblies, run competitions and so on. But, initially when I first started, there wasn’t really a STEM provision at my school and I was quite hesitant, as a new teacher, to start up this up. But, the little voice in the back of my head said, “Hang on, you’re a scholar, I didn’t go through the process of applying to be a scholar to just sit on the side line. I want to make some real change.” And honesty I can say that I have. There’s been a huge uptake of interest in STEM subjects and students are keen to find out more.  

Within my department itself, I have also taken on some additional responsibilities. I am in charge of the year 7 and 12 scheme of work. I am also head of house; this is more of a pastoral role. Just like networking with other teachers and scholars helps you to build a bond with them, it’s the same with your students. The stronger your relationship with them, the more excited they will be for your lessons.

My advice to you would be take advantage of every opportunity the scholarships team have to offer. Make a note of the events well ahead of time, set a reminder and make sure you’re free on that day. Just remember, all of these opportunities open to you are only open to you.  Personally, I think professional development should be our priority. It’s so easy to get into a routine and do the same thing again and again, but talking to others and seeing what they do really helps you to set future goals and better your practise.

By Abi Varathanathan



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