About Me

Engineering Background

My undergraduate degree was in Aerospace Engineering. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) became my specialist subject. CFD is where computers are used to predict flow of gases and liquids, such as the air-flow over the rear-wing of a Formula 1 car.

 

 

 

In 2005, I was part of the University of Manchester Formula Student team. This is where groups from universities design, make and race their own formula-style racing cars. This required a lot of team-work! We divided ourselves into our specialist areas; I was the aerodynamicist. I designed the body work using Computer Aided Design and CFD and then made the bodywork out of fibre-glass. This was the University of Manchester's first entry.

 
 
My engineering background has proven to be a useful tool for teaching maths. A common problem with mathematics is many people "don't see the point." It is difficult to make a connection between algebra, for example, and day-to-day life. Being able to think mathematically is a very useful skill and can be very rewarding. Having knowledge of applied maths is a good way to show the connection between mathematics and the "real" world.
 
Since racing cars are an exciting example of applied maths, once I received Qualified Teacher Status, I took some Year 9 pupils from Cheadle Hulme High School to see the Formula Student team at work. This gave the pupils an opportunity to see a direct application of the mathematics they were learning at school.
 
 
In addition to QTS, I have a PhD in aerospace engineering from the University of Manchester. A deep understanding of mathematics is essential for an engineer. Throughout my PhD, I had to deal with algebra, trigonometry, numerical series, matrices, statistics and Fourier transforms, to name a few. This additional time spent researching means I'm no stranger to learning, myself! This not only qualifies me to teach maths and engineering at higher levels, but also to teach exam preparation skills, such as time management and how to use resources efficiently.
 
 

Teaching Ethos

During my PGCE, there was emphasis on interactive learning. This proved to have a positive impact, but can be difficult to successfully implement in a large classroom. As a private tutor I have been able to interact directly with one or two students at a time, and tailor lessons and resources to their needs. After several years of tutoring, I gained an appreciation for some of the problems that the education system faces:

  • Some students are dismissed as disruptive, including several students who consequently came to me for help. But they are interesting, energetic and bright, and it was a pleasure tutoring them. It sounds like a cliché, but many just need inspiration and an opportunity to express themselves, which can be difficult in a traditional classroom environment.
  • Even though I have come across some teachers who are part of the problem, the vast majority of the teaching community dedicate all of their time to make engaging lessons, and they really care for the students . Unfortunately many burn-out due to large class sizes, the pressure of Ofsted inspections and all of the bureaucracy that they have to deal with.
  • Education is about learning how to think, to have an appreciation for knowledge and about being able to communicate with others. However, due to the pressures on young people, some students find it a painful experience.

Unfortunately, there is no quick-fix for these issues. But I want to be part of the solution, and am working hard to do so.