Are you holding back from a career in teaching physics because your subject knowledge is rusty? If you’re considering the idea of a career in the classroom but haven’t picked up a physics text book for many years, it’s natural to feel that a lack of confidence in your subject knowledge will let you down.
It’s for precisely this reason that Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) courses have been established to help promising teachers gain (or even re-gain) a sufficient level of knowledge and confidence in physics prior to starting teacher training.
Not only are SKE courses designed for people who need to brush up on their existing knowledge, they are also suitable for those who do not have a degree in physics. That’s right; you actually don’t need a degree in physics to be a physics teacher. You do, of course, need an A-Level in physics and preferably a degree in a related subject such as maths or engineering, but it is entirely possible to train to teach physics after successfully completing an SKE course.
Like Rachel, who we featured back in February, David is a shining example of this route into teaching:
“I knew I wanted to teach. I love physics and there’s a national shortage of physics teachers, so it was an easy choice.
“I studied economics at university, and I had all the science A levels. I found out that I could do a science PGCE from a trainee teacher who was a non-physicist and had completed an SKE course.
“Prior to teacher training I was working full time as a teaching assistant in a secondary school giving individual and whole-class support in all subjects. It was a great way to learn about how young people learn and their attitudes and behaviour. It was also a great way to observe lots of teachers in lots of different subjects. Now I’ve started the PGCE, it’s clear how useful an experience it has been.”
David was also awarded a prestigious IOP Teacher Training Scholarship. He told us: “Because I don’t have a science degree, the scholarship has given me a bit more physics credibility!”
SKE courses are viewed as a credible entry into physics teacher training and they are certainly playing a part in tackling the shortage of specialist physics teachers. Courses run for a minimum of eight weeks and can even run in parallel with the start of teacher training.
There’s still time to start an SKE course this year before teacher training courses begin in September. This is particularly applicable to courses that are run entirely online.
If David’s story has opened up new possibilities for you, you can find out more about SKE courses on our website.
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