When I was studying for my maths degree, lots of people asked if I was going to be a maths teacher. Ugh, what a horrific thought, choosing to spend all week with teenagers. No, I wasn’t going to be a maths teacher. That said, I’ve always had a lingering thought that what I really wanted to do was help people to be as enthusiastic about maths (and science in general) as I was.

I guess my time in the voluntary sector has been along a similar theme, helping people to understand what technology is and how it can help them. I would like to do more though. I’d like to learn how to be a better trainer and also start to explore whether or not ‘teaching’ in a formal environment would suit me.

So, brand new for 2013 I’ve signed up to do a PTLLS course, the introductory qualification you need to teach in the lifelong learning sector if, like me, you don’t have any formal teacher training. It’s all a bit daunting really. I haven’t done any academic study for over 10 years and probably haven’t written an essay for a good 15. I don’t start for a few weeks but as soon as I do I’ll probably use this blog to capture some of what I’m thinking and feeling.

I wonder if this is a good excuse to get a new notepad?

[Please don’t leave any comments here telling me how much schools need maths teachers and how rewarding it is to teach children, I’m really not going to change my mind, believe me.]

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While avoiding the message “how much schools need maths teachers and how rewarding it is to teach children” you might have a go at being a STEMnet volunteer. I find I can help kids and young adults to be as enthusiastic as I am about engineering (and maths and science in general). For example, next month I’ll be telling sixth formers about Tsiolkovsky’s rocket equation and younger kids about the enormous ratios between transmitted and received signals when they use their mobiles. Let me know if you would like to see the material (That applies to all your readers too)

Thanks John, I’d be interested to find out more. Although, I’m not sure I can remember any of that level maths at the moment!

Not fancy maths – a couple of quotes from my STEMnet stuff –

Tsiolkovsky’s rocket equation –

Delta-V = exhaust velocity * ln (initial mass/final mass)

– and –

ratios between transmitted and received signals when they use their mobiles –

phone is getting (say) -85dbmw (decibel milliwatts) – few billionths of a milliwatt and base station is transmitting (say) 5 or 6 watts or 5 or 6 thousand milliwatts

So it takes some clever engineering to pick out such a tiny fraction of the transmitted signal

A thousand times a billion is a trillion 10**12 (1 with 12 zeros after it)

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