I want to make physics accessible to everyone – so I chose to become a teacher

Before deciding to train to teach I was studying a Theoretical Physics master’s degree at university.

There are two reasons for me wanting a career in physics teaching. The first is the typical answer – because I want to make a difference. Job satisfaction is very important to me, so I want to be able to go home in the evening and to say to myself that I had a positive influence on at least one person that day, which all teachers can do, every day.

The second is currently there is a problem in the UK with physics having the stereotype of being a subject only “intelligent” people can do, and that it’s a boring subject. I don’t believe this – physics is an amazing subject which anyone can access and should embrace. My main reason for getting into physics teaching is erasing that stereotype attached to physics.

I’m taking the School Direct route into teacher training; I decided to take this route rather than the traditional PGCE because you get to be within a school environment from the very beginning of term. I feel it’s important because you are immediately a member of staff in the school – recognised by both staff and students. You also get the opportunity to teach lessons sooner in the term, which matched my eagerness to get started!

Seeing myself progress as a teacher is an enjoyable part of my training year, this motivates me and makes me excited to carry on. There are many opportunities to reflect on your teaching and think of ways to improve your lessons by identifying what went well and what could be improved.

The Supertrips and Masterclasses I’m invited to as part of my IOP Teacher Training Scholarship are great opportunities to network with other scholars around the country. Being able to talk to peers allows you to feel like you’re part of a community who are going through the same highs and lows as you, and it’s a great way to gain ideas for lessons. There are also events which give you opportunities to speak to experienced physics teachers from all over the country.

I’ve also been using the resources which the IOP offer from the SPN website. Using TalkPhysics has also been very helpful, because you have access to different forums within which physics teacher post questions and advice on all sorts of topics.

  • You could train to teach with a £28,000 scholarship and support through the Institute of Physics. Apply online
Ben Gornall

Ben Gornall

Ben is a physics teacher and IOP Teacher Training Scholar 2017/18
Ben Gornall

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