Mathematics Teaching Placement
Jamie Rimmington - Q&A
What is the University Ambassadors Scheme?
The Undergraduate Ambassadors Scheme (UAS) gives BSc and MMath Mathematics undergraduate students the opportunity to study a classroom-based module as part of their degree. The module comprises a placement in school along with the development and delivering of an educational project.
Why did you choose to do the UAS?
My main motivation for taking part in this module was to gain an insight into the teaching profession. I have always been sure that I wanted to teach, but to have the opportunity to observe the different challenges faced by teachers and to learn about the different teaching styles was one that I was keen to grasp.
Since I intended to apply for a PGCE, the module provides participants with the requisite amount of observational hours that many providers ask of their applicants. As a result, the UAS has taken away the responsibility of organising this, which can be difficult.
What did you learn during your placement at Manchester Grammar School?
My experience at Manchester Grammar School has taught me so many things. First of all, the placement has given me further assurance that teaching is the career for me. I have been able to observe a number of teachers across a wide age range (Y6 – Y13), which has shown me a variety of teaching methods. Another important aspect of teaching is classroom control.
Having seen the different approaches to discipline and control, I have realised that I would like to assert a calm authority over my classrooms, in the future, as opposed to raising my voice to regain control. One of the main challenges a teacher faces is to keep the whole class engaged with the lesson. I have seen this achieved in several ways, often by introducing a fun task, such as quizzes to cement learning. The right to learn is one that all students are entitled to and this will only happen if they are participating in lessons.
Have you got a plan for the future after graduation?
Following graduation, I intend to study a PGCE in Secondary Mathematics at Edge Hill University, with the goal of becoming a Secondary School Mathematics teacher. This has been a target of mine since my own time at High School and has been further fuelled by my participation in this module.
What makes you want to teach?
I believe that teaching is one of the most important professions, as they are in a position to impact the lives of future generations. In this way, all teachers have a key input into future discoveries and advancement of society. I relish the challenge of inspiring students to pursue a career in mathematics and achieve the same amount of enjoyment as myself.
Would you recommend a fellow student to take the UAS module?
I would highly recommend the module to all students, not just those interested in teaching. There are many benefits that are not just limited to one career path. The placement allows you to develop many skills that are transferrable to various careers. Organisational skills, teamwork and the need to meet deadlines, as it is easy to become overloaded with work. In addition to this, the log book enables you to develop the skills of analysis and evaluation, in reference to what has been seen. Public speaking is a useful skill to develop and the Project part of the module enables this. The project requires you to find an area of focus and deliver some content to some students. For example, my own Special Project was based on the real-world applications of the mathematical concepts we learn, as I felt that schools often neglect to share this.
Finally, the placement allows you to assess the pros and cons of the teaching profession. This is useful for prospective teachers or those who may be unsure of their next step after graduation.