I chose teaching to share the excitement of physics – and challenge stereotypes

Image: Shutterstock/dr.ted
Image: Shutterstock/dr.ted

I’ve always been fascinated by physics and our universe, and decided to train as a teacher as I’m really keen to share all the cool, exciting parts of physics with students who may not have come across them so far.

Physics also gives students vital skills such problem-solving and analytical thinking. Even if they don’t remember many of the facts or equations they’re taught, I believe that the skills they learn in physics will continue to help them long after they’ve finished school.

I’m also keen to challenge stereotypes. Until university, I’d only ever seen physics teachers who were old, grey-haired men. As a young woman with a passion for science, it’s really important to challenge that stereotype and help young girls to realise that this can be a brilliant subject for them to study and take further into their careers. I’m looking forward to researching some of the reasons behind gender inequality in STEM subjects and hope to find some solutions to this problem.

Previously, I was working as a graduate content scientist at an education and technology research company. It’s been brilliant to see the impact that technology can have on education, and I intend to carry this forward into my teaching career. It also gave me plenty of practice at writing lesson plans, thinking about student misconceptions, and getting some experience working with a wide range of students, which was all good preparation for the PGCE course.

As much as I admire all the people who go for School Direct or Teach First, for me that seemed too much like jumping in at the deep end. I wanted to go for a university-led route rather than going directly into schools so that I could build up the necessary skills and feel prepared once I start working in schools.

The IOP Teacher Training Scholarships are also helpful in that regard. Access to all the resources, and IOP membership, is a big help to me as a student teacher – there are lots of brilliant ideas and materials to use.

I’m really looking forward to attending the IOP Scholars events. It’ll be great to see all the other scholars again – and to share some inspiring ideas about how to present science in the classroom.

Being a teacher is a dynamic job where you can make a real difference to people’s lives. I’m sure I’ll never be bored!

  • You could train to teach with a £30,000 scholarship from the Institute of Physics. Apply online now.
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Siobhan Fenner

Siobhan Fenner

Siobhan is a trainee physics teacher at the University of Exeter and an IOP Teacher Training Scholar
Siobhan Fenner
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