A day in the life of Nick McIvor, a maths teacher
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A day in the life of Nick McIvor, a maths teacher


My name is Nick McIvor I’m a maths teacher
at St Marylebone Church of England girls’ school in central London. My average day starts
at around 8:00am I arrive at the school I go to my departmental office say hello to
colleagues make myself a cup of coffee, dump bags, most importantly set up the books, resources,
whiteboards, pens, compasses I need for the first two or three lessons of the day and
then head up to register my tutor group. I’ve got a 2:1 in maths from York university I’ve
been surprised at how much of the higher level maths I draw on in lessons to 12 and 13 year
olds. I sometimes will reference all kinds of obscure bits of mathematics sometimes I’m trying to give them a sense of “wow is that right?” I want them to literally know their
times table backwards so what I’ve been doing is teaching them to say them backwards whilst
doing something completely different this rather silly juggling routine, it’s a classic
technique you use in theatre to get authenticity into peoples acting you get them to think
about something else I’m playing the same game, I’m trying to distract them from the
thing they’re learning so that the thing I want them to know becomes natural. After I
left university I went to drama school and spent 10 years working as an actor and a writer
in TV princely and when I was about 30 I felt the fear of freelancing was starting to outweigh
the fun. I wanted to settle down and have kids and I finally decided to train to be
a teacher because ironically the most successfully TV I’d ever written was the stuff I did for
BBC schools and BBC education. (It’s now brake the first two lessons are done and I’ve got
nothing next lesson so I’ve got time for a cup coffee) in-between lessons I try and take
time to speak to people I quite like to talking to colleagues it’s one of the nicest things
about teaching is the people you work with and most of my best ideas and a lot of the
things that make the job worthwhile are in those snatched moments. There are two other
people in this lesson because this is part of a bit of professional development we’re
doing in the department. We planned this lesson together the three of us, I’m now teaching
it they’re now watching it to see if the plan I prepared matches what the kids learn. It’s
now lunchtime I can have lunch in the staff room I can relax for 20-30 minutes. It’s afternoon
registration. To teach well you need to be interested in the thing you’re teaching but
that’s not all you need to be interested in the process of explaining this and conveying
it to somebody else. And unlike the university sector you have to want to explain in my case
maths to kids who don’t know how great maths is, they do maths because they have to four
hours a week, my job is to tell this is a fantastic opportunity. This is a year nine
group which is team taught, we’re very fortunate at this school that we are so well staffed
in the maths department partly because we’re a teaching school so we have many trainees.
You spend your life in the company of committed passionate highly educated articulate people
who care about what they’re doing. That’s actually a very, very nice working environment
and far nicer than any other environment I’ve worked in certainly in theatre or telly. It’s
the end of the day and it’s been a pretty good day, I’m now going home for the weekend
for a pizza.

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