Teacher profiles

The path to becoming a physics teacher is challenging yet incredibly rewarding. Choosing which route to take and starting your training can be a daunting experience, but you’ll be supported along the way.

We’ve asked some current trainees and qualified teachers to tell us why they were inspired to teach physics. Read on to find out about their experiences.

Cara Hutton

Newly qualified physics teacher

After finishing my BSc and MSc in physics and astronomy in the Netherlands, opportunity brought me to the UK to start a PhD in astronomy. I thoroughly enjoyed this but by the end of it, recession meant that research positions were few and far apart. I started looking for something more stable and more people centred but also something that still allowed me to be bouncy, bubbly and enthusiastic about physics.Teaching seemed to fit the bill perfectly! The training year was very hard but one of my highlights was when a set of pupils on my second school placement tried to persuade me to not leave at the end! Now that I’ve completed my training year I’m due to take up a teaching position in an all-boys school. The school is very keen for me to set up an astronomy club, which is great as I can use the knowledge and skills gained from my PhD and earlier studies.


Trainee Teacher and IOP Scholar

Before I started my PGCE course I was studying for a physics degree. I’ve chosen to become a teacher because I enjoy helping people and I feel that there is a lack of good, inspirational physics teachers today.

The IOP scholarship has allowed me to undertake teacher training without worrying about money. It also gives me many resources, guidance and advice, which I know will be invaluable during my studies.


Trainee physics teacher and IOP Scholar

I’m currently doing a university based PGDipEd teacher training course. I’ve decided to become a physics teacher because I am aware that many students find physics lessons ‘boring’, ‘hard’, or a combination of both. It is for these reasons that in the majority of schools only a few students go on to take physics at A-Level.

Whilst at school I had great physics teachers and I know that their passion ignited my own excitement of the subject. I therefore strive to do the same. I can’t wait to observe others get excited about physics.

The IOP Scholarship has helped me as it provides a network of support and contacts which I can draw upon during my teacher training.

Sam Fairhurst-Dixon

Trainee physics teacher and IOP Scholar

After my natural sciences degree in physics, mathematics and, biochemistry and genetics I went on to study for a PGCE in mathematics, only to drop out as I wasn't ready for the challenge. I then went on to work within an outstanding FE college where I built my confidence and revitalised my love of physics and of teaching.

Upon searching for ways into teaching I came across the IOP Scholarship and applied as it seemed an amazing opportunity for me to get back into teaching with the added support of a specialist mentor. I haven't looked back since and I am approaching the end of my course to train to teach secondary and A-level physics.

If you are thinking about teaching physics, I would strongly recommend it, but get as much school experience as you can, because the better idea you have of what you have to deal with, the more prepared you will be when you face the challenge head on!

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