What words of encouragement would you give to someone considering being a Maths teacher?

I am a Secondary PGCE Mathematics student at the University of Leicester. The process of becoming a Mathematics teacher can be very daunting and difficult. However, during the process of gaining a PGCE you will have a brilliant support system ranging from a dedicated mentor, academic tutor, subject studies tutor and an ITT coordinator. You are well cushioned in your training year and have unlimited guidance. 

Also, throughout this process keep your future goals in mind and what you want out of life. Ultimately everybody wants to find a career that is rewarding and worthwhile. What is more satisfying than becoming a teacher. In addition, you want to wake up in the morning and feel motivated to go to work for years to come. There are three factors that seem to be critical for long term motivation: autonomy, mastery and purpose. Mathematics teaching has all three in abundance. 

Autonomy is the desire to direct our own lives. You have the flexibility in how you explain concepts and skills, what activities you want to do with your class and how you help students to learn. You can take your students into a journey of understanding and can open their eyes to the beauty of what they’re learning in any way you like. 

Mastery is the desire to continually improve at something that matters. There are a few things that are as enjoyable as picking up a new skill. In Mathematics there’s that moment of satisfaction when you reach the point where you say to yourself ‘I can do this even though I thought it would be impossible’. Teaching Mathematics provides endless scope for developing and achieving it and it is so rewarding. You can enjoy the satisfaction from personal achievement and progress continuously. 

Purpose is the desire to contribute and be involved in something bigger than ourselves. One of the main reasons why so many people dislike Mathematics is that they have not been taught well. They have not been taught how beautiful, surprising and fun it can be, and have not been taught how to appreciate the power and elegance of Mathematics. So, we need people who are passionate about learning and effective in communicating, to take up the role of Mathematics Education. It is an extremely worthwhile purpose and cause. You can be that person who helps address the fact that many students think they are not ‘Maths people’. Nothing is as delightful as when you have a lot of ‘penny drop’ moments and ‘aha’ moments when someone finally understands it.

By Breerah Alam