teaching

Into the mind of a mathematician

By |January 26th, 2015|Quick thoughts|0 Comments

“… what is a teacher? You see, mathematicians don’t think of themselves as teachers. That should be clear. They lecture. Sometimes they like to and sometimes they don’t. But that’s not what you [as a teacher] think of. You think of yourself as doing mathematics [while students observe].”

One of Gustin’s participants believed that mathematicians don’t really teach: rather they imitate and demonstrate and encourage others to do the same.

Gustin, W. C. (1985), The development of exceptional research mathematicians, in B. S. Bloom, ed., Developing Talent in Young People, New York, pp. 270–331.

Exile

By |August 12th, 2010|Quick thoughts|0 Comments

I know I have been neglecting this blog. Being in the teaching profession you have to be very careful what you say in any medium, not least the Internet where it is difficult to remain hidden. I intend to make a patchy return from my blogging exile.

At the moment I am exactly equidistant between the rock and a hard place. I am unable to decide on my next steps and this is not entirely due to my indecision. To those that know me, they will know that I haven’t qualified as a teacher and that I need to undertake a further final placement. I have some options open to me.

I could do exactly that. That is certainly not the easiest option. Without getting into “administration hiccups”, which are frustrating, I need to find accommodation for three months and get the money to pay for it. With regard to the accommodation, services attached to the university have been rather unhelpful — even delaying the return payment of our deposits for last year’s accommodation. Few private landlords are willing to offer such short term lets. In the absence of being able to give assurances on my future location this has added to the delay of finding me a potential school to do my placement in.

There is the option to abandon the idea of teaching completely, which I am not keen to do but seems the more realistic option. I am uncertain of the viability of this option. Judging where I am now compared to the desolate, disheartening place I was at this time last year, I feel I am in a worse position, somehow. Any potential employer worth their salt will ask me about the previous year and the reasons for not completing the course. Therefore, any role I take is likely to be menial. I have to be prepared for that, but I hope that anyone can see why this is less desirable to me than my first option.

I met and became friends with some absolutely unforgettable and brilliant people during my time there and, dare I say it, friends for life! But though I know I shouldn’t, I feel a little regretful that I went there.