A mathematics teacher is someone who teaches the subject of mathematics to students in school or college. The job of a mathematics teacher comes with huge challenges as school students are generally averse to studying this subject and consider it tough.
What do they do?
Why do we study mathematics? It’s of no use. Once most of us grow up and get jobs as journalists, travel agents or airline stewardesses, will someone ask us to solve mathematical problems? This is what a young student’s perception is of the utility of mathematics in the real world.
But the fact is that mathematical sciences are a part of our practical life. Just for example, CD players would skip uncontrollably if it weren’t for error-correcting codes that are worked out using complex mathematical formulae.
Air travel is made possible thanks to the mathematics of airflow and control systems. Mathematics is also intrinsic to computer science. The list can go on.
A mathematics teacher thus plays a very important role. Anuradha Sharma, a TGT in a government school in east Delhi, got inspired by her own teacher, RK Sharma, as a student more than a decade ago.
“Until Class VIII, I didn’t like the subject. But in Class IX after Sharma sir became my teacher, I got interested in the numbers game. Later, I studied BSc (mathematics) at Daulat Ram College, followed by a Master’s degree from the University of Delhi,” says Sharma.
She finds her job quite challenging because “many students dislike maths and maths teachers, equally. Considering this, I always try and make friends with the students,” she adds. No student in Sharma’s class is reprimanded for not understanding a problem.
“A teacher should ensure each student is made to understand the problem. Explain it to him or her after class gets over, when he or she is likely to be calmer,” Sharma adds.
Many have taken up teaching jobs after studying applied mathematics in fields such as computer science, statistics, or operational research. Anup Gupta, director and mathematics teacher, Zion Tutorials, is a computer science graduate from the Netaji Subas Institute of Technology.
Emphasising the importance of this subject in industry, Gupta says, “During tests for recruitments, MNCs of high repute such as Google, Adobe and Microsoft test engineering graduates on their ability to solve mathematical problems.”
Gupta was so much in love with mathematics that he started coaching students in his final year of engineering.
The future of science and technology too depends on the development of mathematical sciences.
Tathagat Tulsi, who finished his doctoral research in quantum algorithms, says “If we develop our computational resources, many problems can be solved. To cite an example, there is a protein-folding problem in biology, which can unravel the mysteries behind Alzheimer and Parkinson’s diseases and find a cure for these ailments. This problem can be solved if computing techniques are developed further,” says Tulsi.
- You must have a good head for numbers
- You must have a good temperament to teach. You might be an expert in the subject but teaching requires a completely different set of skills and traits
- Patience to deal with average and below-average students.
- Continuous self renewal as one needs to unlearn and relearn as the board curriculum keeps changing
How do I get there?
- One must be a graduate in BSc (mathematics) coupled with a BEd (Bachelor of education) degree to become an elementary or trained graduate teacher (who can teach Class IX and X).
- To become a post-graduate teacher (who is qualified to teach Class XI and XII), one must be a postgraduate (MSc/ MA -mathematics) in the subject.
Typical day in the life of a Mathematics Teacher
Pros & Cons about this career
The job is well-paying, especially after the considerable hikes given under the Sixth Pay Commission. Working hours are less. You normally work until two in the afternoon. Great sense of pride in telling others that you teach a difficult subject
You could face difficulty getting some students to get a good grasp on the subject