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What Makes a Good Primary Maths Teacher?

By Sam Southwell 

The study of Mathematics often gets a bad reputation from pupils, parents and even those working in education. However, a great primary Maths teacher has the power to change this poor image of the subject by incorporating passion, dedication and curiosity into their teaching. For pupils who do not naturally engage well with numeracy, it can be a great challenge to peak their interest…especially when they've already decided "Maths is stupid, I hate it!"

According to Ofsted (2015), outstanding teacher attributes include demonstrating deep knowledge and understanding of their subject, addressing misconceptions, managing behaviour effectively, setting challenging homework and having high expectations of their pupils. These traits may well help a teacher understand what tasks to include in their daily lessons, but the suggestions include little insight on the more personal traits that are needed to become a successful Maths teacher.

We have shared 3 traits to develop in order to further engage your pupils and create confident learners, while becoming an even better Maths teacher than you already are.

1. Empathy

Understanding the way your pupils learn is crucial to improving their success. It is key that you are empathetic towards their learning style and help nurture a love of Maths in anyway you can. We are lucky enough to have 13 former Maths teachers working in the office every day, in addition to more than 150 of our specialist one-to-one Maths tutors. When we mentioned this article, Ellie McCann who previously taught at Ark Globe Academy in Southwark, had great advice, suggesting that "each child learns in a different way and you must be able to adapt your teaching methods to reflect this diversity within your classroom”. If you want more of Ellie's tips, including best practice and unique teaching strategies, they are available on our blog!

2. Knowledge

 A successful Maths teacher will have an extensive knowledge of Mathematics, allowing confident learning to take place. This knowledge will allow for focused teaching, rather than time spent looking through textbooks for solutions. While holding the attention of 30 primary school children is a challenge in itself, sharing your love of Maths must not be lost. By having a strong knowledge of Maths yourself, you can deliver confident lessons while engaging as many pupils as possible. What about those pupils who are less engaged? One-to-one intervention in Maths can benefit those pupils who need extra support at the primary level 

3. Leadership

In the classroom, a talented Maths teacher will not take an authoritarian approach by saying "because I said so". Instead, you should be seen as a facilitator of learning, providing pupils with the tools they need to succeed. Your pupils should see you as a leader, within the classroom and larger school community. Why not run an after school club? Or get involved in your school’s morning routine? Volunteering your time and taking part in various activities that your pupils are a part of will ensure you are seen as a  prominent figure within your school.

Any Mathematics professional (teacher, deputy or head) has the ability to inspire pupils to embrace Mathematics as a lifelong skill that they never stop developing. It is through your approach and attitude that you can provide inspiration and nurture a love of Maths in your pupils' for the rest of their lives. Talk to us on Twitter to share your thoughts on what you think about our tips and strategies for creating confident learners!

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