Saturday, 25 January 2014

Leaving FE

This week I resigned my post as a Further Education Maths Lecturer. I have decided to leave teaching for the moment.

I was struggling to balance my workload and was spending most evenings marking and planning despite only being part time.

I was no longer enjoying the job, particularly being in the classroom.

I did not feel like I was as good at teaching as I was before I had my son.

I had been injured in the classroom and there were no consequences for the student.

I miss my colleague who died a year ago and the workplace reminds me of that.

I am looking forward to spending more time with my son. I am excited about what the future holds and not having a plan for the first time in years.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

EDUC115N - How to learn math(s)

Well I have now started the Jo Boaler course: and I'm really enjoying it. It is the best use of a MOOC I've seen. The videos are very short and you are given a task to do between each one. I've read her book and Carol Dweck's mindset one so I thought most of it would be familiar but I was wrong and there is loads of new things.
I can't believe I haven't read before. It was something I thought I had read but when I read it I found it mindblowing. Also I didn't know that secant was to do with 15th century nautical tables. I really recommend it. It also explained the US maths system a bit which has always confused me. The course is open for new students until September so if you haven't signed up have a go.
Other summer projects
Python coding - I've got a bit stuck. I should have taken notes as I went along. I will keep going and make notes from now on.
Learning to run - been a bit lazy as we're in a heatwave but will get back on it.
Learn to draw- did an upside down drawing that wasn't too bad.
Twitter- I've been on it as much as usual. The Boaler course hashtag is #howtolearnmath by the way
Goodreads 2013 reading challenge - read a few books on holiday last week and I'm now only 5 behind my target. My favourite of which was The age of miracles  by Karen Walker.
Toddler new words - cheese
Blog again before September - achieved yay.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Summer 2013 Projects

Afternoon All,
Today I have a day at home toddler free so I thought I would revive my very sporadic blog. Every summer I like to set myself a few projects to feel like I have achieved something with the generous holiday I am granted by the UK education system. I have done this for years starting with the summer I taught myself to touch type on my electronic typewriter with a book from the library aged 14. My summer holiday starts this Friday, we finish earlier than schools in Further Education (FE). So here are this summer's projects:

Take the Jo Boaler Education Course
How to Learn Math starts on the 15th July and I'm very excited about it. There are a lot of reluctant maths learners in FE and I'm hoping this course will give me some clues on how to win them round. I really enjoyed The Elephant in the Classroom.
Learn to code in Python
I took a Java course at university and hated it. I had to use SPSS as part of my job as an analyst and found it very frustrating. I saw a Maths lecturer use Python for looking into proof at a talk at the University of London we took our A level students too and felt compelled to look into it further. I started a codecademy course on Python and am enjoying it so far. Anything with Monty Python references has got to be good.
Learn to run
Last week I downloaded the Zombies run 5k training app. It is an app that tells you a story about zombies whilst encouraging you to run. I've quite enjoyed it so far though it intersperses the story with your music and I would prefer more story.
Learn to draw
Whilst reading the excellent Mindset by Carol S. Dweck she recommended a book on teaching terrible artists how to draw Drawing on the right side of the brain by Betty Edwards. I have bought the workbook and am currently learning how to see things properly to draw. I have always said I am terrible at drawing but I really haven't practised it very much. It annoys me when people boast about their terribleness at Maths but I have been the same about drawing so I'm going to try and change that.
I am also going to:
  • stay up to date with my personal learning network on Twitter using #mathchat #ukedchat #UMFac.
  • try and solve at least one dailydesmos.
  • catch up on my reading for the Goodreads 2013 reading challenge (currently 8 books behind to reach my target of 50).
  • teach my toddler a few more words (currently has cheers, ready, steady, go, up, bye and daddy) and read to him more.
  • blog again at least once before September.
Enjoy your summer readers,

Sunday, 23 September 2012

I'm teaching information that is 300 years old

Oh dear almost a month without posting. Well I have done my first week of proper teaching and it was as hectic as usual. I think my first lessons were ok but I'm definitely out of the swing of it. I need to plan more thoroughly but I'm moving house this week and my timetable was changed after I left work for the week so this will probably be difficult. I'm enjoying teaching A2 Maths again and my students are lovely. We are starting with the numerical methods coursework which is a bit dry but hopefully will warm them up for the maths to come. I'm teaching lots of reluctant GCSE students this year.

I've let the gamification Coursera course slide and have started another one Introduction to Mathematical Thinking with Keith Devlin. I will not be able to fully participate in this one either as I won't have broadband for a fortnight after moving. However it's still got me thinking. One statement in the introduction reasoning really got to me - "the typical high school curriculum comprises of mathematics at least three-hundred years old, some of it over two-thousand years old!" I knew this but I'd never really thought about it. Really we are teaching a historical course. The ancient rules have been past on from generation to generation almost like a religious text. My thoughts on the usefulness of the GCSE syllabus varies from year to year. I think Maths is a key topic but some of the things we teach are no longer useful particular if you finish your maths education at 16. What is the use of understanding Pythagoras' theorem but not being ripped off by credit card interest?

I've just finished the third episode of The Bletchley Circle. A lovely drama on ITV with a great cast. In the episode the main character reaches for The Principles of Mathematics by Bertrand Russell in an emergency. It was great to see maths portrayed positively for a change.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Gamification and first week back

Well my first week back at work is complete. Yes I know it's only Thursday but I'm a part time skiver now. Monday was very confusing. It took the whole morning to adjust to being back. I did learn how to use the new printer though so I consider that day a win. You can scan documents on our printer and email them from it. Amazing huh?

Tuesday I was feeling back in the swing of it. First big A level meeting. Teachers do love a good moan don't they? I presented our department's results. Yesterday we had our department meeting. I found out I'm co-ordinating the daytime GCSE and may be taking two A level classes.

Away from work I've been enjoying the gamification course on Coursera and it has really got me thinking about how I could apply more game ideas to my lessons. I would like my lessons to be more playful and fun particularly GCSE and functional maths.

I've been enjoying the resources on the number loving website recommended by TES maths resources/Mr Barton though some of the items won't download for me.

I have just downloaded the blogger app and am writing this from my phone. I very rarely use the laptop these days. Smart phones have really changed how I operate probably not completely for the better.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Introducing myself

How do you introduce yourself to your classes?  I normally give my name and contact details. I'm about to start my 6th year of teaching and have been wondering whether to mention this and a bit more about my background. Just diving straight into long multiplication seems a bit rude somehow.

I'm getting more excited about the new academic year. I return from maternity leave on the 3rd September but teaching doesn't start for two weeks. I perused the pencil cases in town today but think I will stick with my old one. I did buy a new notebook with my Waterstone points.

Embedded image permalink
I have decided to ditch my academic diary and just use outlook for scheduling. This is going to be my first term as a part time worker and mum so it will be very different. Any tips much appreciated.
I've also signed up for this course I think gamification in education is an interesting idea. Manga High and Mathletics seem to be going down well in schools and I'm intrigued if this idea could work for my 16+ students. 

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Hello World again

Morning everyone.

Inspired by I am restarting my blog. I know it's been a while but I feel the need to restart. I have been seduced by the ease of twitter and that has been where I have been mostly shouting into the darkness.

I'm returning to teaching in a fortnight after 9 months maternity leave. I'm hoping it will all come back to me. I think I'm teaching A2 core and that will really test my mathematical muscles after this gap.

My new academic year resolutions are:

1) Reflect more on my lessons and record this somewhere so when I teach the topics again I improve. I know this sounds simple but I often can't remember which are my best resources and which ones have errors in a year on and end up using them again and kicking myself.

2) Take the coursera course Introduction to Mathematical Thinking
I've practised on the Science Fiction and Fantasy course and found the whole thing very interesting. Are MOOC's the future?

3) Try to finish the last past of my mini masters course. This involves doing a research cycle with one of my A level groups and writing about it. I haven't any ideas on what to do this on yet and want to get into the swing of being a mum and a teacher first but it's bubbling away in the background.

This is going to be a difficult year as one of my closest colleagues and friends is dying and I will miss her terribly at work. She is doing a parachute jump next week.