Mathematics

Why study mathematics?  At St Swithun’s, we believe that mathematics is an intriguing and exciting subject that gives you the tools to tackle later life with confidence.  Girls often start in L4 thinking mathematics is all about “sums” but by the end of their time at the school, they have been introduced to the wonders of algebra, geometry, calculus and the like.  They will tackle challenging puzzles and problems, they will learn how to construct a coherent logical argument, they will play mathematical games and hopefully they will find that mathematics is fun!

The teaching team get very excited about mathematics: -

I have always enjoyed mathematics and the more I have learned, the more I have become fascinated by its intricacies and the way it all fits beautifully together.  More than anything though, I have enjoyed the “buzz” that I can get by solving a question that at first sight appeared to be beyond me!  Teaching allows me to lead girls through this same process.  I aim to push and encourage girls to go one step further than they thought was possible, to make the next connection, to take the next step.  I want to see this “buzz” in their faces as they discover that mathematics is not just necessary and useful, it is also fun!

First love – football. Second love – maths. Why do I enjoy maths? Well, I still love problem solving (even after all these years!)  and I love the idea that starting from a few first principles (called Newton’s laws) complex motion and phenomena can be described and explained. Why study mathematics? – What I most appreciate is the training of the mind that I have received: logic, organisation, analytical thinking have been invaluable life skills.

I always wanted to be a maths teacher!  It was either that or an airline pilot but I thought why help to pollute the atmosphere when I could be helping children instead, so teaching it was.  The subject choice was easy – I love maths.  At school it was because of the fact that your answer is either right or wrong, not somewhere in between, and that you can actually get 100% in a test, if only you don’t make any mistakes, unlike writing an essay.  It did not always come easily to me, I had to work hard, but I think this makes me good at explaining it to others who are finding it less than straight forward and I really enjoy this aspect of my job.  Working with teenagers is challenging, interesting and rewarding. No two classes are ever the same and the girls here are bright, enthusiastic and fun, which makes them a pleasure to teach.  I also get to work with mathematics all day every day and convey my appreciation for its beauty and elegance to those I teach.  With 11 years' teaching experience, I can honestly say that I have never been bored once!

The most exciting thing about teaching maths is that moment when someone who claims that they don’t understand anything suddenly realises that they do. ‘The lightbulb moment’.  I really enjoy the subject and if I convert one pupil each year to enjoying it too I’ll be happy.