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Name: Garrod Musto

Job Title: Chartered Maths Teacher / Director of Professional Development

Organisation: Kingswood School, Bath

Number of years in current position: 1 year

Qualifications: C.Math.Teach. FIMA. M.Phil. BSc.Hons (Ed.)

Briefly describe the organisation.
Kingswood School is an Independent Co-educational Boarding and Day School for pupils aged 3-18, now based in Bath, however the school was originally set up in Bristol in 1748 by John Wesley.

Explain what you do on an average day at work.
Fundamentally I am a mathematics teacher with responsibility for the professional development of teaching staff at school. So I teach at least half of the day which I think is very important, and some time is dedicated to supporting colleagues develop particular aspects of their practice. I also have responsibility for Public Benefit work at school, and within this role I try to connect with organisations within the B&NES area. In addition I have recently become a regional co-ordinator for the Royal Academy of Engineering Schools STEM initiative “Connecting Teachers”. Therefore I do spend some of my time out of school working with other teachers to develop the STEM provision in the south west. I suspect that on reflection much of my work on a weekly basis is underpinned by the CPD requirements of the C.Math.Teach designation.

What do you like most about your job?
Probably the diversity. I love being in the classroom working with students, however C.Math.Teach has encouraged me to think about my practice and work with others within mathematics education; I have enjoyed collaborating with other teachers and local stakeholders such as the IMA, NCETM, STEMNET, and MEI, and also creating CPD opportunities for others through public benefit work.

I have really enjoyed being involved with a number of exciting initiatives collaborating with the wider community in the South West, which include

  • creating a project to engage parents;
  • working with local Universities, leading a HE STEM project examining the transition from A level mathematics into undergraduate courses;
  • working with local IMA and ATM members to develop a maths trail,
  • and also delivering enrichment talks at South West FMSP events for students and at national conferences for teachers.

What stimulated your interest in maths, and when?
Although I was inspired by maths teachers at school, and went on to study it at sixth form college and university, it was only really when I became a maths teacher that I really began to understand the power and inherent beauty of mathematics. To engage students it is important that you have got something meaningful to say, and I suppose having to explain concepts enabled me to develop my true understanding of the material, and become passionate about it. Also as a teacher I became involved with the IMA, and this has enabled me to gain an insight into the application of mathematics and its place in the world around us. This has been very important, as it has allowed me to inform students of particular career paths open to them if they follow a maths related course or STEM discipline at University. I think that the C.MathTeach award has also reinvigorated my love of mathematics through engagement with other teachers, and teaching organisations.

What influenced your career choice?
It has to be two fantastic mathematics teachers I had at Newbridge Comprehensive school, Mr Isaacs and Mr Phillips, they were simply brilliant, they really sparked my interest in the subject and pushed me to excel. However my mother was a nursery school teacher, and my father was an auditor (accountant) within the coal industry in South Wales, so it is hardly surprising that both myself and my sister trained to become mathematics teachers!

Which skills do you consider to be essential for your job?
Wow, where do you start! – teaching is a true artform, at times it is a performance of sorts, but more improv than scripted. You need a presence in the classroom which enables you to earn the respect of the students you work with; you must be patient, and be able to control, motivate, and inspire children; you also need to be able to make key decisions under pressure during lessons. You must possess excellent interpersonal skills, and a real interest in helping young people fulfil their potential. You need to be organised and efficient, and don’t forget you must always demonstrate a deep understanding of the subject knowledge…….although this is a long list, I am sure that is just the tip of the educational iceberg!

Any advice you may have for other individuals considering your career path.
I think the outstanding teachers that have inspired me throughout my career share a common personality trait. Fundamentally they all have a conviction that throughout your career you never stop developing; and you will always have something learn about yourself as a teacher by engaging with others.

Your future career plans.
The problem with the teaching profession is that career progression inevitably means less time in the classroom, which ultimately is the bit I love. My current role enables me to continue to do this, but also to support other teachers to develop, and working with the local community to create exciting learning opportunities for local students. I can’t imagine wanting to do anything else!