I was working at an international telecoms company as a Network Security Specialist. I realised that although my job was technical I was missing physics and I wasn’t doing what I wanted to be doing in 10 years’ time. I was being fast tracked onto management schemes and sat back for a minute to think about whether that was actually what I wanted to do. It was difficult to see it objectively as they were paying far more than a teachers’ salary but I realised it was more important that I was happy. I wanted to move to working somewhere where I felt I was making a positive difference to people’s lives, not just helping a rich company get richer.
I’m taking the university-led route to gain QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) and a PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education). I chose this route because I wanted to get a good grounding in the theory of teaching as well as getting good experience in a school. It also means I met loads of other trainee teachers which makes the whole process easier. It’s a tough year, so having people who know what you’re going through is really helpful. The route I chose also gives you loads of support and you aren’t pushed into the deep end teaching 30 lessons a week. You build up gradually as your confidence grows which was what I wanted.
“I wanted to move to working somewhere where I felt I was making a positive difference to people’s lives”
I love teaching the KS3 Light topic. It includes tricky concepts but it’s so interesting for the Y7s and they seem to really love it. There are also some great practicals you can do with them. Other than that it would have to be A-level Astrophysics (I’m an Astrophysicist by trade) because stars are awesome.
Applying for the IOP scholarship made me much more confident in my ability to teach. I felt a bit rusty on my physics as I have been working for a few years outside physics now. The IOP interview day was much more difficult than the university interview day and really pushed me to know my stuff and be able to articulate myself properly. The people in the IOP are so helpful and full of ideas, I’ve already had a bunch of lesson ideas to try out. We also got some stickers with some amazing physics puns on them which the kids love!
- The Institute of Physics is awarding Teacher Training Scholarships to individuals who have impressive subject knowledge, a passion to share their subject and the determination to become an exceptional teacher of physics. IOP scholars will benefit from £28,000 tax-free funding, as well as a package of support that includes CPD, networking events and IOP membership. Find out more and apply.
Latest posts by Katerin van der Zalm (see all)
- Teaching physics: I love teaching the KS3 light topic - 10 January 2019