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Case Study: Alice

Personal details
Degree:BSc Hons Maths Profile picture
School(s): School of Mathematics and Statistics
Year of Graduation:Jul-2002
National of: United Kingdom
Employment details
Organisation: Dunbar Grammar School
Job title: Teacher of Mathematics
Occupational Sector: Teaching
What has been your route to getting your current position?

After leaving St Andrews in 2002 I completed the PGCE course in secondary Education at Moray House, Edinburgh. I was given a probationary post at Dunbar, where I then applied for a permanent contract. I have been at the same job since!

What does your job involve ?

I am a secondary maths teacher. Along with the usual classroom demands, I have responsibility for the development of numeracy in the school. I also run the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award at the school, organised our S1 residential trips and have run 2 cultural trips to California.

What are the best bits of your job ?

I love teaching! It is the best job in the world. I enjoy the fact that every day is different and no matter how much planning you do, you can not predict the way learners react to the lesson. I particularly enjoy watching students have the ‘penny dropping’ moment when their work suddenly makes sense to them.

Why were you successful?

Hard work, and interest in my job.

What skills/ knowledge from your degree have you found particularly helpful in this role?
To be a maths teacher you need a degree in maths, although the content of the degree is very rarely used, as the highest maths we teach is Advanced Higher.
What advice would you give to students wishing to follow the same path?

Teaching is a gift of a job - if you enjoy it. You can’t make yourself be a teacher if you have no interest in students or your subject. I have found that the most positive members of the staff room are actually those who put in the longest hours, but get the biggest rewards from their students. I have also enjoyed getting very involved in the extra-curricular life of the school and have run many trips, including some abroad, and feel that this has had a real positive effect on my relationships with students in the classroom too. People who say that teaching is only 35 hours a week (our contractual obligation) and have long holidays do not take into account the fact that a good teacher works much longer hours but doesn’t begrudge it! Teaching is a vocation – and if you want to teach, the work load, the pay or the holidays will not influence your choices.