QA

25th April 2008 at 01:00
Will the fact that I'm teaching maths at secondary level, despite having only done a psychology degree, affect relations between myself and other colleagues within my department?
Will the fact that I'm teaching maths at secondary level, despite having only done a psychology degree, affect relations between myself and other colleagues within my department? Will they have less respect for me for having done a "softer" subject? - Emma, Nottingham

A: Your worries are unfounded. We are far too busy to waste time worrying about a colleague's academic background. Your psychology degree probably included some intensive statistics and that should be a confidence-booster.

What matters is whether you can teach. Given that self-confidence is a big part of this, I suggest you put your anxieties behind you and look forward to the challenges ahead. - Heather, London

A: There are all sorts of reasons why we might have a bit of professional insecurity, and your situation is one of them. But few of us are the complete package. We each bring different things to the party. So you should be reassured by the competence of those who selected you for the job - they must have seen something that compensates for your lack of a subject-specific degree. If I were you, I'd concentrate on these positives. - Margaret, East Sussex

A: I can understand your apprehension and there will always be individuals who believe they are "better" than others because of their qualifications - but these alone do not make an effective teacher. Not all of my department have mathematics degrees, but a range of experiences brings diversity and depth. - Rachel, Warrington

COMING UP

Q: We want to see a greater staff presence around the school site at break and both ends of the day. But how much should we reasonably agree to as part of our working week? And how much should we volunteer before asking to get paid for doing an extra duty?

Q: As a secondary English teacher, I am constantly told by other subject colleagues that I must have one of the heaviest marking workloads in the school. So should all mainscale subject teachers get the same time for marking and preparation? Or do some of us deserve more time for marking?

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