Best practice: Top tips for being a successful maths teacher

Ideas from Tes award winner Nicola Whiston on how to keep secondary maths students engaged in lessons

Helen Ward

Nicola Whiston's top tips for being a successful maths teacher.

Nicola Whiston, director of teaching and learning at Ormiston Horizon Academy in Stoke-on-Trent, is the winner of the 2018 Tes award for maths teacher of the year.

Here she gives her top tips for maths teaching:

• First: Relationships are the most important thing in teaching. Make sure your classroom is where the student wants to be because they want to be around you.

• Second: Establish a routine. Don’t sit down, get up and own the classroom. Ensure students know what to expect day in, day out throughout the school year.

• The third point is: Take the time to get to know each child and get to know the small signs that mean they are struggling but don’t want to put their hands up. Speak to them individually and make sure they know it’s not a big deal if they’re stuck. If they know you’re happy to help them, then they’ll be happy to ask.

• And remember: No matter how big or small the task, give as much praise as you can for success or attempting it. Then children will leave your class feeling good about themselves.

• Finally: You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. There are amazing resources being created daily for mathematicians. And some of the best ideas will be in your own department. Get out of your classroom, watch what your colleagues are doing, speak openly with each other about your strengths and struggles. Teaching is a team job and departments are there to help each other.

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