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This question came to my mind after seeing this question about secondary ed job postings.

While this site is about mathematics education, and educators have to think about jobs and how to acquire them ... I think it's a difficult question to decide whether to allow and promote questions only about employment. I can see this as a slippery slope of sorts. For instance, the following questions are about math education and jobs, to varying degrees:

  1. What's the best way to convey one's enthusiasm for teaching in a job interview?
  2. How should I write my "teaching philosophy" for a math job application?
  3. What are some of the downsides of being a math teacher?
  4. How do you supplement your income with other math-oriented jobs, especially teaching/tutoring?
  5. What are the best graduate programs for math teacher training?
  6. Is the job market for secondary ed better than elementary ed, in math?

As you can see, these are all "about" math education. Do they all fit into the mold of this site and our collective vision for it? I propose using this thread as a discussion for the kinds of questions I listed here, and any other related considerations.

Follow-up: I suggest up-voting this post if you view this as a helpful/necessary discussion to have, and up-voting individual answers to support their viewpoints.

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  • $\begingroup$ I posted the question, and I'm fine either way; it's good to work these things out early. Academia already covers a lot of questions about math employment at the university level. $\endgroup$ – Brian Rushton Mar 24 '14 at 22:59
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In my mind, here are some good general tests for whether a given type of question is on topic:

  1. Will the question be interesting for a significant portion of our audience?

  2. Is it the kind of question you would expect to find on a site for math educators?

  3. Would the question be better addressed at some other Stack Exchange site?

  4. If we allow this type of question, will they become so frequent that they might crowd out other questions?

I think the sample questions you give mostly pass these tests, except possibly for #3. In particular:

What's the best way to convey one's enthusiasm for teaching in a job interview?

This might be better addressed at the Acadmia Stack Exchange.

How should I write my "teaching philosophy" for a math job application?

This seems reasonable to me.

What are some of the downsides of being a math teacher?

This question is so broad and subjective that I'm not sure it's a good fit for any Stack Exchange site.

How do you supplement your income with other math-oriented jobs, especially teaching/tutoring?

I'm not exactly sure what this is asking, and again it seems that this might be better addressed at the Academia Stack Exchange.

What are the best graduate programs for math teacher training?

This is an excellent question and I would like to know the answer.

Is the job market for secondary ed better than elementary ed, in math?

This will vary from country to country, and possibly even from region to region. Aside from that, I think it's a reasonable question.

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I personally think that #5, as phrased, is good for this site.

I think #2 and #4 are okay, but could be written better (or explained inside the post to show how they fit this site).

I think #1 and #6 are too focused on employment to merit inclusion here, where the focus is more on teaching.

And yes, #3 is too subjective, as stated, to be a meaningful question anywhere. But I think some refined version of it could fit here, like "What is great advice we can give to student-teachers in education programs?"

So, I like Jim Belk's outline of 4 questions to be asked of posts about employment, and would even say that (3) should just be "Would this be better addressed somewhere else?" (SE site, Reddit, with colleagues, etc.)

I'm a little worried about the interplay between (1) and (4) (and how that affects (2)). If more and more users come here and see posts talking shop about the job market, then more users will post those, which will draw more users expecting to see those. I've enjoyed the great atmosphere here so far in private beta, and am hoping to see more and more of the kinds of questions we've had so far, rather than a shift towards other questions. And knowing that we are just entering public beta, I'm hoping that it doesn't look, to many new users coming in, that this is a place about jobs.

That said, I think we can have really good, insightful questions about employment. And the enthusiasm of users here for math education issues will surely never be crowded out :-)

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