Cath Griffin is the Australian Mathematics Competition Director in QLD and she shares a bit about herself and how she came to be an Australian Maths Trust volunteer…
I experienced the Australian Mathematics Competition (AMC) for the first time when I was in year 8, achieving a high distinction. The teacher who had marked my paper asked if I wanted to win a prize, to which I said, ‘Yes please!’. That day I took the test paper home, came back to school the next day, handed it over to the teacher and then sadly never saw him again or found out what mark I received. This was my first experience with AMC.
Years later I found myself teaching maths, becoming the Head of Department at my old school. I also had two sets of twins, 16 months apart. After returning from maternity leave and working part-time teaching year 5 maths, I was approached by a former colleague about a temporary teaching opportunity for a term at a different school.
Unfortunately due to personal reasons, the teacher on leave did not return and so I was offered a permanent role. However, working full-time with four children who were then all under the age of two was not possible. Thankfully, with the amazing help and support from my husband and mother, the school was able to create a job for me working one day a week as an enrichment maths teacher. This program has since gone from one day a week to a five -day-a-week program, for which I work two days a week. Through this program, we have been able to run the AMC, maths team challenges and many more. The opportunity then came up for the Qld AMC State Director volunteering role, and as one of the few schools and teacher who was fully involved with the Australian Maths Trust (AMT) programs, I was approached about the role, and I gladly accepted, and have enjoyed over the last three years.
As an AMC State Director, I work as a representative and point of contact between the AMT and the Qld school and teacher communities, communicating the different competitions, programs or marketing campaigns taking place.
The best thing about being an AMC State Director, and this is the maths nerd in me, is being able to teach and share the resources the Trust provides to as many schools and students as possible. My biggest goal as Director would be to engage the universities, offer some of the Enrichment books to our final year teachers, immerse them in what is available and reignite and excite them about maths and teaching.
What next? Well, my plan is to continue in my volunteer role as AMC State Director and now
that all my children have graduated and are going onto university, I have also taken on a volunteer role with the Western Australian Mathematics Problem Solving Program, running the Challenge and Enrichment program provided by the AMT.