Why I decided to change my career to Maths Teaching

Diane ArmitageThis year, even though I am busy living life with our young family (a one and a four-year-old) in rural Northamptonshire, I made the life-altering decision that I wanted to change careers and be a maths teacher. I grew up in Ireland and studied Ecology in University (a somewhat niche subject anywhere) and so have always needed to be flexible workwise. I have had a plethora of different roles: waitressing, estate agency work, university research, ecology, and most recently I worked as an agricultural policy advise; so, deciding to change career was perhaps a little less daunting for me than others may feel.

Over the past couple of years, I began imagining careers that might fit in better with family life. Recently, I found myself reminiscing about my school days. Maths might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I get a real buzz when I solve maths questions. I chose a science-based career, but I always wondered what would have happened if I had followed my fascination with maths. I was lucky enough to be able to arrange a couple of experience days at local secondary schools before lockdown to see how I might feel about teaching when I am actually stood in the room. Thankfully, I felt that I just wanted to stand up in front of the students and try doing it myself. So, I put an application in and after a Zoom interview and an online maths test (!), I was excited to be offered a training position on a SCITT and a placement with a local school.

Since I started training, I have realised that I both love working with maths and the challenge of learning to teach students. However, it is important to think through the financial implications before making the change especially if you have young dependants, which may well bring large childcare bills, with most career changers only entitled to the minimum 15 hours free childcare. Luckily, maths is a good subject to train in as the bursary is quite healthy so that helps to cover the bills and the mortgage.

Practically, I have found balancing the teaching, learning, and parenting to be quite manageable so far. My mentor has been very supportive and by being able to spend the school hours focusing on the task at hand means I still get to spend quality time with the family at home. So, if you are considering making the change, research the learning path options, your financial commitments and the potential impact on your family. Personally, I would highly recommend it!  

By Diane Armitage


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