The Institute of Physics have been working with the Gatsby foundation to bring more physics teachers into the classroom. The plan, to find enthusiastic people who would like to teach physics, but don’t quite have the subject knowledge and invite them to take part in a 6 month long intensive training programme that gives them the skills to teach physics up to A-level. Result, more physics trained enthusiastic teachers working in UK classrooms
On the 8th January Picnic went to the ASE to meet some of these teachers, and interview them about their experiences. What lovely people, a few that stick out in our memories – Emma, a medical physicist in a hospital, brilliant at radiation but lacking the confidence (and range of knowledge) to go straight to a PGCE course is now an inspirational teacher of physics. And without the course all that enthusiasm and talent would never have made it into a school. Ade, a mum, now looking for her first job teaching physics, who really appreciated the opportunity she was given to pick up her slightly rusty physics after a long gap, she knuckled down on the IOP course and is now totally excited about getting a physics job in an inner London school (any recommendations/job offers for her then I’m sure she’d be happy for you to contact her through us!!!).
We also spoke to some of the mentors the IOP have provided for newly qualified teachers, and what a lovely bunch they were. Sometimes you need someone to help, who isn’t going to judge you and Tom and David have in the main heard all the worries before, know how to help new physics teachers, and if you ask them nicely will even lend you their schemes of work to get you off to a flying start.
The Institute of Physics Initial teacher training programme is a brilliant, pragmatic response to the national shortage of physics educators… long may it continue!
Thanks to everyone who we interviewed, sorry the space was so hilariously small! But hey, what is a lack of personal space between friends!!