“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.