James – an early career teacher case study

I found the prospect of teaching A-level physics terrifying!

I was an astrophysicist so during my degree, there was a huge focus on space, but not much quantum physics and so on. I had to put a lot of work into preparing lessons and revision programmes. There were questions I didn’t know the answers to. But the next year, they were the same questions.

Now I feel very comfortable with my A-level knowledge. If the kids ask me to do a calculation, doing it in front of a crowd with the whiteboard is challenging, now if I get stuck, we can work on it collaboratively.

Every physics teacher should be told you have three to four years on them. You have a degree. You know more than these kids. Get stuck in as soon as possible. If you leave it, it grows scarier than it is. You won’t be challenged by GCSE content. As a teacher, your educational journey hasn’t finished either. The kids help you on that journey and it keeps you on the cutting edge.

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