Actual Maths: Total Recall

“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”

Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics

It has been 10 years since I last taught A-level Mathematics. I was good at it, and I had to be, because I was teaching Oxbridge and ‘red brick’ university applicants. I taught up to Mechanics 4 and Statistics 2, which was a challenge but a successful one. It was a challenge for two reasons really. The first was that my confidence wasn’t great – I’d had a terrible time at A-level myself and done relatively poorly, despite rectifying those efforts and blitzing my Mathematics modules at university.

Sidenote: I studied Mechanical Engineering, but the make up of my degree was more on the theoretical and design side of things rather than the ‘break stuff to see how it works’ side. Hence my maths skills had to be top notch. They were that good I was offered the chance to do Pure Mathematics instead. Didn’t take them up on it. Should have, looking back. Anyway, I digress…

The second was that these students were amazing. They had a thirst for Maths that often times I struggled to sate, which was incredible to think of when these days I’m often working with ‘crucial’ C/D borderline and A/A* groups (which isn’t a problem – I like these sorts of groups)! Since then, that part of my repetiore has gone awry. I’ve not really practiced much since, and up until only recently when teaching the Level 2 Further Mathematics Certificate have I got to really test my teaching practice.

My new school is an 11-18 which offers A-level Maths and Further Maths. I’m not timetabled to teach any of it as yet – phew – but I do want to be in a position where if I need to, I can take up the reins and teach at least A-level Maths (Further would require more time, really).

Now they say the best way to remember something is to teach it, but for my own piece of mind I think I’m going to do the learning bit first, and then go through my thought processes on here.

I’ll be using things like Hegarty and Corbett Maths, MyMaths and Khan Academy for the homeworks and tests, a nice notepad to do my working out on and Desmos as a graphic calculator.

In a way, it’ll be a little bit like a golfer rebuilding his technique from scratch. I want to clear out any bad habits, and make sure if and when the time comes, I’m ready to take a class on confidently.

If anyone has any tips or advice on this I’d be most grateful. Eventually I might look at beyond A-level and try some degree level stuff, but for now, I’ll stick with this plan.

Thoughts welcome!



About workedgechaos

Teacher. Critic. Geek.
This entry was posted in Actual Maths. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Actual Maths: Total Recall

  1. Han says:


    I read your blog post via Echo Chamber and I thought I would provide you with a resource, mainly my own.

    I have created website, with copies of my notes on A level maths which I wrote for helping me tutor A level students. It is still a work in progress, and it contains mainly a lot of annotated worked examples, exam paper solutions, ideas for revision and exams. Most of my good notes are related to A2 Pure maths ( C3 and C4).

    If you check the “Resources” tab, there are lot of websites which you might find useful.

    As you have a strong background in maths, I would suggest that you check out university level maths, (especially topics on proofs, and mathematical reasoning – a great book is Intro to mathematical reasoning by peter eccles). Also I do beileve that you already know the content, so maybe best to just do lots of examples first rather than doing lots of reading first, then doing the reading/watching with stuff you don’t know.

    Lastly, I think you should consider focusing on using the new A Level curriculum (Start 2017) as a guide for what to learn. Thus avoiding learning stuff that will not be taught at A Level in future years.

    All the best


    PS Great site, with lots of insightful commentary on teaching and maths.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s