EducationConsultant

Susan Okereke

Susan Okereke

Born in Liverpool, UK • Studied Mathematics and Business Studies at the University of Edinburgh, UK • Highest Degree Master’s in Teaching (MTeach) from the UCL Institute of Education, UK • Lives in London, UK • Occupation maths teacher, maths communicator and education consultant

I love teaching maths! I am a maths communicator and teacher and I passionately believe that numeracy is an essential basic skill that everyone should have – like reading and writing – and every student should leave school competent and confident in it. Sadly, I am aware this is not the case for many students in the UK and I am trying to use my expertise and experience to help improve this situation.

I began to understand the importance maths education plays in society and realised that maths teachers have a crucial role in making the world a fairer place

As a teacher, I have a keen interest in teaching and learning. I believe that teachers should be model learners, so a few years ago, I decided to do a Master’s in Teaching (MTeach) at the UCL Institute of Education. The Master’s looked at what is needed for ‘effective’ learning to take place, exploring the complex relationship between learner, teacher and their environment. It opened my eyes to how education can transform people’s lives, especially maths education. I began to understand the importance maths education plays in society and realised that maths teachers have a crucial role in making the world a fairer place, with recent data by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) showing a direct relationship between wage distribution and numeracy skills.

My Master’s dissertation analysed the effectiveness of a targeted maths intervention on students’ attainment and reflected on the challenges secondary schools face when implementing interventions. Working on my dissertation clarified the fact that I want to use my expertise to bridge the gap between primary, secondary and further education maths learning, supporting all students to feel confident in maths, especially our most disadvantaged students. I believe the key to bridging this gap is to ensure all students have solid basic maths skills and a positive attitude to maths and this starts with good maths teaching.

Completing my Master’s ignited my interest in finding ways to present maths that are accessible and engaging for everyone, especially people who find it challenging. My work as a maths communicator is an extension of this mission.

Maths has a reputation for being boring, difficult and irrelevant to people’s lives and many people are intimidated by the subject because they believe ‘you are either right or wrong’ and that is all that matters. I’m on a mission to challenge this common misconception. Maths is so much more than the final correct answer, it is about seeing patterns, making connections and solving problems, which is an emotional and collaborative process and can be a lot of fun.

Completing my Master’s ignited my interest in finding ways to present maths that are accessible and engaging for everyone, especially people who find it challenging. My work as a maths communicator is an extension of this mission. Over the years I have been involved in a variety of amazing maths events and projects for students, teachers and the general public. Events that strive to bring maths to life for audiences by highlighting the weird and wonderful places maths can be found, which I share on my blog www.DoTheMathsThing.com. Also, the podcast Maths Appeal I co-host with TV personality and fellow maths teacher, Bobby Seagull, presents maths in an accessible way by including maths puzzles and interviews with maths champions from the worlds of tech, entertainment, comedy and education.

Engaging in this range of maths-based endeavours has made me realise I am on a lifelong learning journey with maths education and I hope to take my students, listeners and readers with me as I try to show that maths is everywhere and for everyone.

Posted by HMS in Stories