Teaching physics: The interesting discussions I have every day

I had a discussion recently with a student about if nuclear fusion was now a reality for power generation. The students also love discussing why birds don’t become electrocuted when sitting on high voltage wires. The idea is initially counter cultural given society often just warns all young children to stay away and not touch electrical items and wires.

What I enjoy most about teaching is sharing interesting facts that make students go “no way!” Or finding ways to make the topic fun. Physics seems to have become known amongst students as being ‘hard’ and is often unloved by many studying at GCSE. I love the idea of putting creativity and fun into the subject. I feel science should be as much about play and asking “why?, as it is about processes for investigating and quantifying results.

I chose teaching because I wished to enter into a career that I felt would be satisfying. I was an engineer by training, so physics was an obvious choice of subject. On a logistical note I also wanted an industry where employment could be found in my local area, which is very rural, and could offer holidays that would fit in with being a parent of two young children.

What I enjoy most about teaching is sharing interesting facts that make students go “no way!”

I am an IOP Teacher Training Scholar, and so far it has helped me by introducing me to many enthusiastic physics teachers. The buzz at the CPD events for scholars is incredibly motivating experience. The events have given me ideas that I have used in classes. The scholarship has made me much more aware of the IOP website and the support on offer for physics teachers both online on the IOP website, through Talk Physics, The IOP Future Physics Leaders programme, The Ogden Trust and AlevelPhyicsOnline website and Isaac Physics. The link to other training physicists has been wonderful; I’m the only physics trainee on my teacher training course and hence it’s great to be part of a wider network and know I’m not alone.

  • 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.

Rosie McTavish

Rosie is a Trainee Physics Teacher and IOP Scholar.

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