ECT (cropped)

Early career teacher blog: Less than two years after completing my PGCE, I’m Head of Physics!


ECT (cropped)

This is the latest posting from our busy physics teacher who is now in his second year after qualifying (read his previous post here).

“Recently I was offered the Head of Physics role at my school. Yes, I am just completing my second year of teaching. Yes, being the youngest (and also least experienced) member of my department is incredibly intimidating. But, I happily accepted.

It did come somewhat out of the blue. The previous Head of Physics had perhaps been moulding me for the role but it ended up being thrust upon me much earlier than I was expecting as he had to step down due to health issues.

It was a great feeling being told that it was down to my hard work and dedication to the school. I have run the GCSE Astronomy for two years and, with all the other responsibilities I have within the department, I feel that I have proven myself in an organisational sense. But to have this role offered so early was a mixture of emotions.

There was obviously flattery, the fact that they thought that I was prepared to take on this role, but also a lot of fear and apprehension. I suddenly find myself having to make big decisions and having responsibility not just for my classes but all classes studying physics.  I pore over data, where all the numbers merge into one, unsure what it all means and what I can do to change it.

The role hasn’t turned out to be quite what I expected either, with a lot more admin and fire-fighting than I thought. The workload has been crazy. I thought that by taking over the role immediately rather than in September would allow for a slow easing-in period. I couldn’t have been more wrong! With coursework submission and exam prep looming I found that as a department we were not as prepared as I would have liked and it led to quite a frantic period and I found it monopolised my time.

All this for an extra £65 a month! Unfortunately due to pension contributions increasing and the student loan company get their pound of flesh, it doesn’t leave me with a lot to show for my efforts. I’m finding myself compromising even more of my home life to try and make my role a success.

But ultimately I took this role as I thought I could make a difference in the physics education at my school. The physics department has been doing well for a while and, during my teaching, I have been able to supplement the course with various trips and extra-curricular activities. I am now keen to make it even better.

I am lucky that I have a supportive department which includes the Head of Science and the former Head of Physics to help me find my feet and I am determined to make my mark. I want our results to be the highest they’ve ever been, I want the students to come out of every lesson buzzing and I want the number of students we send to university to study physics to be the highest ever.

It’s a big job ahead of me but I’m looking forward to the challenge!”