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Maths Teaching

  • 15-01-2021 11:36pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 16 ddoolan03


    Hi all, current 6th year student here. Decision time for CAO is obviously around the corner, and the only job I've really considered in the last few months is secondary teaching. I like school, and I want to work in a job where I can feel that I'm doing some good.
    I'm fairly certain I'll do Maths, as it's one of my stronger subjects, it's something I enjoy, and I understand that it's a good one to have when applying for teaching jobs.
    I have a few questions before I make a final decision. If you can give some advice on any or all, I'd be very appreciative.

    1) I'd like to do either Economics or History as my second subject as I really love them, but I also like Biology and Irish. How hard are these subjects in college? I'm more or less straight H1/H2 in the first three, and a high H3 in Irish, how good would you want to be at LC level to take them at third level?

    2) I'm looking at teaching-specific degrees, but I've been told by some to avoid these as they're supposedly useless if I decide against teaching (even been told it's impossible to get into post-grad with one.) How true is this?

    3) What about arts degrees? Even in secondary school arts degrees seem to be perceived as a bit of a joke, but would there be much of a difference if, for example, I did a 3-year general Arts degree before specializing in Maths and Economics, versus a 4-year BSc in Maths and Economics? Are they only "unemployable" if you pick the "useless" subjects (e.g. politics), or is the degree itself the problem? 3 year BA would be far more attractive than a 4 year BSc if there's little difference, as a 2-year PME would follow either.

    4) Is the teaching situation still as bleak as it was during the recession? I'm based in Munster and would happily live anywhere except for Dublin city really. Would you be looking at many years subbing if qualified in Maths and a second subject?

    5) What's the story with the new computer science subject? I've always been fairly handy and interested in computers, but would these degrees (the education ones, designed for secondary teaching such as UL and NUIM) be very tough? Is there jobs in this subject?

    6) Any other advice?

    Thank you very much in advance, D.


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,073 ✭✭✭ Treppen


    Statistics wise, Maths and Irish you'll walk into any job. But probably wind up teaching only one of those subjects because of demand.

    Usually all the science teachers in our school are thrown in to maths (whether they can teach it or not). So you'll actually have good collegiality in a school like that. So Biology and Maths are good, if you did a 4 year degree and probably post-grad, you'll waltz in bio pharma quality compliance job (great money and benefits compared to teaching). The education degree BEd is a quick route into teaching compared to 4 year degree them PME on top, but I don't think the BEd would stand to you as well for non-teaching job (that's a generalisation though I'm open to correction).

    For teaching... The money ain't great compared to industry but security is good when you eventually become permanent. Paying rent living away from parents while beginning work as a teacher is crucifying, have you ever considered asking your principal for advice , they can't promise you anything but if you've a few schools near where your parents live you can get a foot on the saving ladder while trying to work up permanency/full time hours. No matter what subject you teach starting out, expect to be let go after your substitute/part time/fixed term stint is done. That can be very demoralising.


  • Registered Users Posts: 149 ✭✭ carr62


    Very interesting post and reply, thank you! My daughter, currently in 5th year, is very keen to become a maths and Irish teacher. Forgive me but I don't understand why it's likely she would end up only teaching one subject? If so, which would be the better one to study? My daughter is also weighing up the benefits of doing these subjects as a teaching degree ( I believe Mary immaculate college runs a course - although she dreads the thoughts of going to what she perceives is a "dull" place to study??) or perhaps doing them as a joint honours and doing post-grad teaching qualification. She really wants to go to NUIG - not sure why, but you can't argue with a 16 year old haha.....hope this post makes sense....I might be using the wrong terms to describe the courses but I'm unfamiliar with it all as she will be the first in the family to head to third level, and I guess that's why I want to make sure she goes the best route! Thanks for any information.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,751 ✭✭✭ mirrorwall14


    Some thoughts on teaching in the commuter belt in Kildare at the moment

    1. Massive shortage of maths and Irish teachers. Right up to full time jobs going Unfilled or filled by unqualified teachers
    2. Shortages of sub cover across most subjects. Not full time jobs but definitely fairly straightforward to build up experience these days
    3. Very difficult to get to teach your other subject if one is more in demand. Maths classes for example will often all be scheduled parallel so you can do a full 22hrs of maths if you include TY and LCA and not need any other subject. Irish teachers have a huge issue with this in particular. They will almost never get hours in anything else no matter how qualified
    4. Pay is low for the cost of rent around where I live. Some mad commutes being done so teachers can survive


  • Registered Users Posts: 149 ✭✭ carr62


    Thank you Mirrorwall14. Would you believe I don't think we had even considered salaries! Can I ask how much a secondary school teacher would earn in their first few years? I can't even tell you what a financial struggle it will be for me to get her to college, so it would be pointless doing that if it's just going to lead to her struggling financially in her life too. She happens to love both Irish and maths, and teaching was the obvious choice I guess - i can't think there's any other route to go down - though judging by the comments it's likely to be a case of teaching either the maths or the Irish.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,751 ✭✭✭ mirrorwall14


    carr62 wrote: »
    Thank you Mirrorwall14. Would you believe I don't think we had even considered salaries! Can I ask how much a secondary school teacher would earn in their first few years? I can't even tell you what a financial struggle it will be for me to get her to college, so it would be pointless doing that if it's just going to lead to her struggling financially in her life too. She happens to love both Irish and maths, and teaching was the obvious choice I guess - i can't think there's any other route to go down - though judging by the comments it's likely to be a case of teaching either the maths or the Irish.

    It’s very difficult to confirm salaries at the start. The headline figures are nice. But most teachers starting out will not be on full hours and even if they do get them they almost certainly will not be paid for the holidays. This can be the case for years. Essentially if a school has say 11hrs of maths on a contract for the year (not covering anyone else) then you would get half the headline figure. However you may pick up subbing too which would boost you during school term, you can do supervision of the state exams if you can get appointed and you can do correction in the summer (bear in mind it’s not paid until Oct/Nov. That’s how many young teachers survive.

    ETA: generally you need to have your own hours (not career break, maternity etc) for two years in a row then the third year will be a ‘permanent’ or CID contract. This will only for the number of hours or the fraction of a job you have though. So despite being permanent you may still not be on full salary


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,271 ✭✭✭ am_zarathustra


    carr62 wrote: »
    Thank you Mirrorwall14. Would you believe I don't think we had even considered salaries! Can I ask how much a secondary school teacher would earn in their first few years? I can't even tell you what a financial struggle it will be for me to get her to college, so it would be pointless doing that if it's just going to lead to her struggling financially in her life too. She happens to love both Irish and maths, and teaching was the obvious choice I guess - i can't think there's any other route to go down - though judging by the comments it's likely to be a case of teaching either the maths or the Irish.

    This would also be very location dependent. If we could get a qualifies maths and irish teacher they would be straight on a full time, 21.20 contract and we would be bending over backwards to help them settle in. But that's Dublin! Could you give a rough idea of where in the country you are or where she would be looking at going to college??

    I always got by and I qualified in the recession when there were no jobs, almost my entire class emigrated. I had to stay, for family reasons and I have to say, once I got in the door of a couple of schools I hadn't a bother getting hours. I had a great relationship with one of the guys running one of the subbing companies and he made sure I'd plenty of work. Reputation got me jobs after that. It's a small ecosystem in a lot of ways. I corrected, gave grinds, taught summer schools, ctyi, all sorts really but it kept me ticking over. I got a permanent job within 5 years and I've a post of responsibility, mortgage approved for enough to buy a decent 3/4 bed in a nice commuter town or a half decent area of the city. The only extra work I do on top is correcting for the state exams (well on top of all the things I run and my extra curriculars)

    Teaching is a great job, it wasn't my first career but it's incredibly rewarding. The money thing can be tough at the start but if you are open to other sources of income for a couple of years you'll be grand. Also I didn't have family support, bar some in my dip year. I've rented all along in the city and paid my own way!


  • Registered Users Posts: 52 ✭✭ Pringles123


    While there is apparently a shortage of teachers at second level at the moment (definitely in irish). I think in the future we are going to be looking at oversupply problems. I think this is even currently the case in primary schools outside of Dublin just by talking to friends struggling to get consistent work. This is going to happen at second level in the near future, I read somewhere that after this year numbers in secondary schools are dropping looking at the demographics. Perhaps this should be considered/researched when going into teaching. Also, new courses have opened up for maths, irish teaching recently. Concurrent ones where you are qualified after 4 years, and that's not to including the new course open to teachers wishing to add on maths, physics and Spanish as extra subjects. This is only going to add to an oversupply issue. All the same, If a person is a good worker and is passionate about education, this shouldn't matter.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,271 ✭✭✭ am_zarathustra


    I think in secondary location and subjects are so important. If you want an art, geography, english or history teacher you will still get a few applicants in Dublin, for Irish, MFL, maths (qualified) or physics you will, in all likelihood, not even get an applicant. If you are qualified in these subjects I would say, regardless of demographics, you will be fine in urban areas. I would be far warier suggesting someone enter the profession with just English or a geography and history combo, all of these have lost hours at Junior cycle as is, very few schools need more of these subjects. But again, this is very much from a Dublin perspective, I know teaches who moved home and don't have jobs years later. A school in dublin would hire them in the morning.

    The spike of births from 2008-11 are still really only entering secondary this year barely........you'll see steady numbers for a few years now.

    I'd also say your other skill matter, I'd a few other useful extracurriculars along with a background in tech so that will obviously stand to you. Sport is an obvious o e, all being equal you always hire the person who will bring something to the life of the school too


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,073 ✭✭✭ Treppen


    if they can get in within the next 6 years then it'll be at peak demand, although I'm sure the department will try and curb full time contracts and keep subs stringing along (they also have adds out on the radio now to prepare for the wave).

    Here's the projections document
    https://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Statistics/projections/projections-of-full-time-enrolment-primary-and-second-level-2020-2038.pdf

    Post Primary ---
    539716.JPG
    Projections.JPG

    Napkin math time : Extra 30k odd at 2025 compared to now ... that's about 5k per year group... roughly extra 40 students per school. Doesn't sound like alot but it would work out to about 2 extra teachers per school.

    But ya, it's all about demographics and how it's spread around the country.
    Remote working.... people moving out to the shticks !!!
    Recession.... People Moving to the cities to find work.


  • Registered Users Posts: 52 ✭✭ Pringles123


    Treppen wrote: »
    if they can get in within the next 6 years then it'll be at peak demand, although I'm sure the department will try and curb full time contracts and keep subs stringing along (they also have adds out on the radio now to prepare for the wave).

    Here's the projections document
    https://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Statistics/projections/projections-of-full-time-enrolment-primary-and-second-level-2020-2038.pdf

    Post Primary ---
    539716.JPG
    Projections.JPG

    Napkin math time : Extra 30k odd at 2025 compared to now ... that's about 5k per year group... roughly extra 40 students per school. Doesn't sound like alot but it would work out to about 2 extra teachers per school.

    But ya, it's all about demographics and how it's spread around the country.
    Remote working.... people moving out to the shticks !!!
    Recession.... People Moving to the cities to find work.

    Thats very interesting thanks for that. It seems I was a couple of years out. The department might also take the opportunity to reduce student teacher ratios if there is teachers available. Might change employment prospects too.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 149 ✭✭ carr62


    Thanks for all the information posted here. I really need to sit down with my daughter and take all this in. She would be quite an all rounder, which on paper seems great, but makes it harder I think to make choices around picking subjects, as she doesn't seem to be naturally any better at one than another. We are in the Midlands, can't imagine her being able to work in Dublin with the cost of accommodation. Perhaps I should try to steer her towards a more lucrative career. She loves Irish, can't imagine there's much call for that outside teaching. Perhaps a maths degree might be the better option. Thankfully she has a while yet to decide. Thanks everyone for your help, and I really wish ddoolan03 all the very best with the exams - if they happen!


  • Registered Users Posts: 16 ddoolan03


    carr62 wrote: »
    Thanks for all the information posted here. I really need to sit down with my daughter and take all this in. She would be quite an all rounder, which on paper seems great, but makes it harder I think to make choices around picking subjects, as she doesn't seem to be naturally any better at one than another. We are in the Midlands, can't imagine her being able to work in Dublin with the cost of accommodation. Perhaps I should try to steer her towards a more lucrative career. She loves Irish, can't imagine there's much call for that outside teaching. Perhaps a maths degree might be the better option. Thankfully she has a while yet to decide. Thanks everyone for your help, and I really wish ddoolan03 all the very best with the exams - if they happen!

    Thank you for the luck wishes, I hope your daughter finds a course and career she enjoys!


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,271 ✭✭✭ am_zarathustra


    carr62 wrote: »
    Thanks for all the information posted here. I really need to sit down with my daughter and take all this in. She would be quite an all rounder, which on paper seems great, but makes it harder I think to make choices around picking subjects, as she doesn't seem to be naturally any better at one than another. We are in the Midlands, can't imagine her being able to work in Dublin with the cost of accommodation. Perhaps I should try to steer her towards a more lucrative career. She loves Irish, can't imagine there's much call for that outside teaching. Perhaps a maths degree might be the better option. Thankfully she has a while yet to decide. Thanks everyone for your help, and I really wish ddoolan03 all the very best with the exams - if they happen!

    From the midlands myself, I managed ok renting in Dublin so I wouldn't be put off by that! Best of luck to her regardless, you seem very clued in and if she's a good all rounder it'll probably work out no matter what she chooses!

    I worked in a far, far more lucrative career before teaching and I wouldn't go back for anything! I've enough money to get a decent mortgage, though living in a nice two bed apt til we buy (market unfortunately is tricky currently) and I have a job i absolutely adore, working with brilliant people and I sleep well at night!


  • Registered Users Posts: 149 ✭✭ carr62


    From the midlands myself, I managed ok renting in Dublin so I wouldn't be put off by that! Best of luck to her regardless, you seem very clued in and if she's a good all rounder it'll probably work out no matter what she chooses!

    I worked in a far, far more lucrative career before teaching and I wouldn't go back for anything! I've enough money to get a decent mortgage, though living in a nice two bed apt til we buy (market unfortunately is tricky currently) and I have a job i absolutely adore, working with brilliant people and I sleep well at night!

    Thank you so much. Isn't that what we'd all only hope for! Great to learn that it can indeed be a worthwhile career. Your replies have been so positive it's been lovely to read them. Keep well.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,073 ✭✭✭ Treppen


    carr62 wrote: »
    Thanks for all the information posted here. I really need to sit down with my daughter and take all this in. She would be quite an all rounder, which on paper seems great, but makes it harder I think to make choices around picking subjects, as she doesn't seem to be naturally any better at one than another. We are in the Midlands, can't imagine her being able to work in Dublin with the cost of accommodation. Perhaps I should try to steer her towards a more lucrative career. She loves Irish, can't imagine there's much call for that outside teaching. Perhaps a maths degree might be the better option. Thankfully she has a while yet to decide. Thanks everyone for your help, and I really wish ddoolan03 all the very best with the exams - if they happen!

    If she's good Irish and good subjects all round she could consider primary, that can be a little bit more secure , although a different animal altogether to secondary !


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