Should we consider it on-topic to ask questions about working as a teacher of mathematics even when the question has nothing to do with mathematics itself? The topics could be something like this: applying for jobs, salary, vacations, qualifications, work contracts, permissions… (For working at universities, academia.se might be a more appropriate site, but I doubt that's a good solution for all kinds of teachers.) Such questions might be of interest to a significant portion of our users, but they would have nothing to do with teaching mathematics per se.

This question was inspired by this recent question: As a Secondary public Math educator are there vacation days? I found some related meta discussions (eg. Posting employment questions (about math jobs)), but I don't know if questions about life as a teacher have been discussed in general.

Our help pages are not very clear about this (which may even be a good thing). The expression "Mathematics Educators Stack Exchange (MESE) is a question and answer site for those involved in the field of teaching mathematics." seems to allow a wide range of questions.

What do you think about such questions? Should we mention them at our help pages?

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    $\begingroup$ There is also a site The Workplace. I am not completely sure what is on-topic there, but they rather would not want the specific question (I asked). $\endgroup$
    – quid
    Commented Apr 28, 2015 at 17:11

1 Answer 1


I am going a bit back-and-forth on this question.

The on-topic states, in the second sentence:

The community welcomes questions on teaching mathematics and the process of learning mathematics at all levels.

The question asked is not a question about teaching mathematics, it is more a question about being a teacher of mathematics. This might still be fine as a question, however, in the specific case "Mathematics" is completely tangential to the question asked; would the person teach Geography, History, English, or Spanish it would not change a thing, yet it seems hard to argue it has anything to do with our topic.

Now, we also say:

The community welcomes general questions related to teaching provided that they are relevant to teaching mathematics.

But, the intent there was rather not to exclude all questions of general pedagogy or class-room management only because they are not specific to mathematics.

Looked at it in this way, the question seems not really in scope anymore.

However, there might be an argument to be made that this site should also serve to answer questions of teachers, persons intending to become teachers,r parents interacting with teachers, or just persons being curious, on the work-life and working conditions of teachers.

The specific question is asked out of an immediate need in a nice way, and it also seems uncontroversial and answerable (now that the region is specified).

In summary, I do not think that this question is fully covered by our on-topic and I also do not think that we should change our on-topic so as to make this question explicitly on-topic. However, it seems close enough that as an isolated question I see no need to close it. Perhaps, let us just answer this one. If such questions become more frequent, we could revisit the subject.

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    $\begingroup$ I agree. If it becomes more frequent, we can revise. An isolated borderline question doesn't harm anyone. $\endgroup$
    – Chris C
    Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 18:25

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