Maths - Pi another day

6th April 2012 at 01:00
Be prepared for anything with a gadget-laden `maths suit'

When I started out as a maths teacher, my dress sense might have best been described as charity shop chic. I had amassed an array of 1950s jackets and innocently thought that my new proteges would be impressed by my stylish retro cool. But my pupils fell silent as I walked in, then shared a communal "Ouch!" "Oxfam was it, Sir?" one asked. This was a tough school.

Finally a pupil called Mavis, aged 15, took me aside in a motherly way. "Give yourself a treat, Sir," she said, sotto voce. "Go to a proper shop and buy yourself something really nice."

"What should I wear?" is a question that (almost) every maths teacher has to grapple with at some point. Impeccably smart? Mufti? Ties? Heels? Sometimes I fantasise about the perfect clothing in a James Bond-style daydream that goes like this .

Q, the greying head of MI6's research and development branch, introduces Jonny (me) to Dr Leonard Hoffstein, who has created an ingenious "maths suit", with a full range of accessories, for my next assignment. Jonny, slim and tanned after a week lecturing in California, smiles broadly. "Delighted to meet you, Dr Hoffstein. The name's Gee. Jonny Gee. Licensed to teach mathematics."

A few minutes later, Jonny looks at himself in the mirror. The fit of the jet black suit is perfect. It's embellished with carefully tailored pockets: a semi-circular one containing a protractor, a right-angled pair for set squares, and a neat 12-inch by 1-inch that could secrete a metal ruler. Jonny sighs with satisfaction and checks his TI-84 carefully before slipping it smoothly into the under-arm calculator holster.

Q and Dr Hoffstein purr over their sartorial creation before explaining "a few little extras". The soft leather patches on the elbows are detachable mini-frisbees, excellent for giving someone in the back row a gentle wake- up call.

Dr Hoffstein then reaches into a small reinforced pocket by Jonny's chest. "This may look like a pair of compasses, Mr Gee, but if you break someone's skin with its point, it will administer a dose of Ritalin sufficient to sedate a rowdy student of average build for an entire 90- minute lesson."

"Good luck," says Q. "You have a tough assignment. SPECTRE is committed to ridding the world of enjoyable mathematics."

We are all allowed to dream. But until Q and Dr Hoffstein knock on my door, I will stick to my current rules for teacher kit: nothing too flash or too staid and, above all, everything built to last. I even wear a tie - and that I can still buy in the charity shop.

Jonny Griffiths teaches maths at a sixth-form college

IN THE FORUMS

Check out a debate in the TES opinion forum about whether teaching really is the worst dressed profession.

WHAT ELSE?

Harbouring fantasies of being Gee, Mr Gee? A Dr Evil maths scheme from mrsNibbles will let you inhabit that dream for a little longer.

Turn clueless into Cluedo with claireh1039's secret agent number hunt.

Find all links and resources at www.tes.co.ukresources029.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now