Here we go then…
I attended the first meeting of many over the next two years as I begin my professional journey to a richer, greener, hopefully much improved, teaching field. I have many ideas about what I would like to achieve from this course – specific, actual targets aren’t something I’ve thought about. Yet.
I know where I want my career to go eventually in that I’d like to be someone who is a creative teacher of maths, and other subjects. I want to be known by the people I work with as someone they can mine for ideas or suggestions. I have plenty of ambition, plenty of drive, I’m willing to try anything at least once if I think it will help my pupils get a richer educational experience – although I’m slightly skeptical before I try something without knowing it’s worked elsewhere. This reason is precisely why I’m a follower of many teaching professionals on Twitter, why I spend time reading all kinds of educational web sites and forums.
Anyway, on with the course. The idea behind the Mathematics Specialist Teacher role is to become a “Mathematics Champion”. Someone who is, according to the course handbook:
…a confident and competent mathematician who can inspire children and teachers and be truly regarded as a Champion of Mathematics in the schools in which they work.
The initial development of this role was outlined in the 2008 Williams Report (Independent Review of Mathematics Teaching in Early Years Settings and Primary Schools – WMR Final Report). Recommendation 3 of which states:
There should be at least one Mathematics Specialist in each primary school, in post within 10 years, with deep mathematical subject and pedagogical knowledge, making appropriate arrangements for small and rural schools. Implementation should commence in 2009 and be targeted initially to maximise impact on standards and to narrow attainment gaps.
Now, this is likely to go out of the window in the future as the admittedly much needed money saving cuts are put in place by the current government. Indeed, funding is in the air for future cohorts. I am part of the second such cohort in Kirklees, a member of a group of 40 individuals – but Calderdale will only have one cohort, consisting of just 10 people as their second cohort funding was not approved.
The three main aims of the programme are to develop:
- a deep understanding of the subject
- an understanding of pedagogy
- an ability to support the mathematical and pedagogical understanding of colleagues in school
These aims are to be covered through taught sessions, school based tasks, readings, directed tasks and a learning journal – this is my attempt at the latter part.