I asked soft questions that aren't really about the study of mathematics as a discipline, but were nonetheless welcomed

  1. http://meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/10503/soft-question-about-need-for-math-majors

  2. The odds of studying versus applying a mathematics?

I am planning to teach mathematics at the secondary level. I expect I'll have to teach the first 4 years at a U.S. high-need school, which is not a problem; I am in favor of educational equity. Ideally, I would actually teach math, have meaningful discussions with students, but hardly ever waste class time on chores like handling misconduct. Can anyone suggest how to identify a high-need school where there is a good chance you will teach math to bright or gifted students?

Would this be on-topic at MSE and are there users with any teaching experience that could answer this question?

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    $\begingroup$ Students don't need to be bright or gifted in order to have meaningful discussions free of misconduct. Make sure you clearly and consistently present yourself as someone with whom meaningful and relevant-to-them discussions can be had, and someone who consistently expects respectful conduct. "Giftedness" has a much smaller impact on learning outcomes than your expectations. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pygmalion_effect $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 17:05
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    $\begingroup$ I do not have any direct experience with K12 teaching beyond my 12 years as a public school student in Philadelphia, but in that experience even teachers in unusually strong schools need to "waste class time on chores like handling misconduct": certainly by teaching high school you're signing up for a clientele who is less uniformly motivated to sit quietly and listen to you -- let alone to try to understand you and learn from you -- than what one could expect from a university environment.... $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 1, 2013 at 10:23
  • $\begingroup$ ...I would think that "high-needs schools" would be the ones in which these challenges are more prevalent. Signing up for this kind of teaching assignment but saying you have little interest in managing classroom conduct seems slightly contradictory. Bright and gifted students is a different matter -- such students are not inherently more "ruly" than other students, by the way; I graduated at the top of my class academically, but I was certainly not the "ruliest" student in my graduating class; I was not above breaking the rules when it benefited me and caused no obvious harm to others. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 1, 2013 at 10:30
  • $\begingroup$ Trying to seek out bright and gifted students in high-needs schools "from afar" -- e.g. on a national scale as you are doing now -- sounds like a tall order. My experience is that in most schools you have to accrue some seniority and show some drive and skill before they let you have a crack at the best and the brightest.... $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 1, 2013 at 10:32
  • $\begingroup$ ...Where there are literally no teachers teaching classes for the bright and gifted, I would suspect that the schools probably have not identified these students. Again from my own experiences with the public school system in Philadelphia, I would have to believe that in any large public high school there will be some students who are bright generally and gifted at math specifically. But you may have trouble finding them. In fact, they may not know or view themselves as being "gifted at math": sussing out such students seems like an important part of the job. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 1, 2013 at 10:35

1 Answer 1


If you're looking for users with mathematics education experience, I'm not sure if Mathematics StackExchange is the ideal place to look.

There is currently a proposed StackExchange site for Education (http://area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/50826/education) but there doesn't seem to be much activity lately.

There is also another site for mathematics educators (https://mathematicsteachingcommunity.math.uga.edu/) but the community there is not as large as at the StackExchange sites.

As for a place to teach math to bright or gifted students, take a look at Proof School.


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