### More about Me and My Blog

I am a qualified secondary school
maths teacher, and have taught maths to children from year 7 (age 11) to
year 13 (age 17) in a few different secondary schools. I thoroughly enjoyed my
PGCE year. Nobody who has done a PGCE can deny that it is tough, but I really
enjoyed relearning maths from the point of view of teaching. I had never
struggled with maths myself, and didn't realise the depth of difficulty and
misconceptions that students can experience. I became passionate about helping
students to enjoy maths and really understand it. I wanted to encourage
students to engage and see the beauty of maths.

However, like many teachers, it did
not take me long to realise that teaching wasn't going to be exactly what I
expected. Too much of my time was spent jumping through hoops, doing things
that were of no benefit to the students learning. I was expected to spoon feed
the exam classes so that they could pass an exam, but didn't necessarily have
any understanding of the mathematical content we were covering. All the
reports, meetings and marking meant that I was left with very little time for
the most important part - the planning (and teaching). I found myself teaching
lessons that I was certainly not proud of - I had to rigidly stick to the
scheme of work and didn't have the flexibility or time to help the students
develop a deep and fundamental understanding of mathematics. There were too
many students in my classes for me to make sure that every student had the
teaching and tasks most suited to their style of learning and to their prior
understanding. I could go on, but all in all I was not doing what I had trained
for, I was stressed, over-worked, unable to help the students in the way I
wanted and I had no time left over for my own young children.

I decided to leave the secondary
school environment and now teach maths to engineering apprentices. However, I
still have my passion for helping kids to really understand maths. Through
teaching, I realised that by secondary school age, for many students it was
"too late". They had already decided that they hated and
"couldn't do maths". Trying to convince these students otherwise was
almost impossible and so much time was spent undoing negative feelings and
misconceptions that they had built up. I now have much more time (I leave my
work at work) and I spend some of it researching how to help children to really
understand maths from the beginning.

**Purpose of my blog**

This blog is designed to explain
mathematical concepts (that can sometimes seem obscure) and provide ideas for
tasks and activities that can be carried out at school and at home to help kids
gain a deep and fundamental understanding of the subject. I want to help
teachers, students and parents understand why certain mathematical concepts are
vitally important, and where the knowledge can lead. I want to bring the
passion back into teaching and learning maths, helping those who have become
disaffected by the rigidity of schemes of work, and the hoops that have to be
jumped through for exams. I have nothing but the greatest respect for
school teachers and their hard work that I know they put in to inspire and
engage children in such a (poorly) politically run school system.

I know that I have never taught in a
primary school, but teaching secondary school kids has made me aware of the
misconceptions and lack of understanding that kids have. These misconceptions
are normally built upon lack of understanding of basic, fundamental
mathematical concepts, such as place
value. I believe that helping kids investigate and discover mathematical
facts and ideas for themselves helps to enhance and embed deep understanding.
The national curriculum requires students to learn so many different facts and
topics that it can be easy to rush through ideas, teaching rote methods and not
allowing students time to discover true knowledge.

The tasks in my blog posts are mostly
tasks that I have found in books and on websites, along with some of my own.
They are designed to really help students to understand the mathematical
concepts. They encourage students to link their new found knowledge to other
areas of maths and to develop problem solving skills. These are important
skills to learn. I believe that school maths can be very compartmentalised, and
I have found many students who are more than capable in one topic, but are then
unable to apply the same mathematical concept when studying a different topic.

**Kiducation**

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