Church on Sunday can feel worlds away from our day-to-day lives. We asked Christians to tell us how their lives connect with their faith for our new Whatever You Do prayer calendar.
I’m Alexandra Hewitt and I’ve been working part-time for the Further Mathematics Support Programme for nine years. I’m passionate about equality in education, and about mathematics, and this job is about ensuring that every young person has the inspiration and opportunity to study mathematics to the highest possible level.
Every day is different. The best days are when I’m out running an event. It might be a competition for students or a professional development day for teachers, which can mean an early start, especially if there’s a long drive. I cover Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes, but also help out with events in Berkshire (so that’s pretty much the whole Diocese of Oxford) and further afield. Otherwise I might spend the morning at my desk doing preparation and planning, or responding to emails asking for advice, and do some online tuition or online professional development later in the day.
There’s a lot of uncertainty about our own funding, and also, with all the changes to funding and courses, it’s seems that some schools will struggle to continue offering Further Mathematics. We also have a lot of extra work on hand to support schools in preparing for the new A level courses. There is new content, which not all mathematics teachers are familiar with, and a substantial change of emphasis in the way mathematics is taught and assessed.
We are also still waiting for all the courses to be accredited, even though schools start teaching them in less than six months’ time. Sometimes it feels as if the Government has no concept of the need to plan ahead, which makes it very stressful for teachers. We do our best to support them.
I’ve often wondered whether teaching mathematics is really a response to God’s call, but it’s what I’m good at, and trying to give every young person the same opportunities in life seems to be ‘loving your neighbour’. One of the hardest things is that I only see my colleagues intermittently, at our termly conference and sometimes when running events. It’s good to be able to share prayer requests by email with those who are Christians. It’s difficult to share my faith with the teachers I support, but I do build up relationships with some of them, and many are relieved to have someone with whom to share their anxieties. I just try to be as helpful as I can.
I see God at work around me in all the teachers giving everything to support and inspire their students. There is a huge amount of selfless service in education. When I’m not working for the FMSP, I am Director of Music at St Mary the Virgin, Wheatley, where I’m also training to be a Licensed Lay Minister, and I’m involved with Fusion Wheatley, and run a lunchtime group called ‘Xplore’ at Wheatley Park School. I also do a small amount of piano and organ teaching.
- for all schools struggling to recruit enough specialist mathematics teachers
- for teachers to be able to balance their workload and life, and find time to plan for course changes
- for the uncertainty about funding to be resolved
- for me trying to balance the demands of my main job, being Director of Music, and the LLM training
- that people will catch a glimpse of Jesus in my life and want to find out more.
See @1CorTen31 for daily prayer points on Twitter.