Student teacher: Learning to teach is harder than doing three PhDs

Our student teacher slogging her way towards the end of the year. It’s all been worth while, though. Especially now she has her very own nickname.

Teaching physics... nothing to fear?

Less than four weeks to go, and no, I am not counting down! I don’t know about the rest of you student teachers, but I feel ready. Ready to have my own students, ready to have my own classroom, but most of all ready to start teaching my own way. I am convinced that being encouraged to try out the various teaching styles from the different teachers I’ve been taking over from during my PGCE has helped enormously to figure out what my own style is. However, at some point you need to have the little wheels taken off your bike so you can start to cycle independently.

The last couple of months have been hard work. I have battled with illness and needed to take some time off. I have been desperately trying to catch up ever since. Luckily this week is half term, with only a few sessions at university, and oodles of time to catch up on all the paper work that has been taking second place.

This year has been the hardest year of my life. I’d redo my PhD three times over before even contemplating doing another year of PGCE. If anybody ever tells me that becoming a teacher is the easy way out, they are in serious danger of being thumped! In contrast, it has also been one of the best years. I feel like I’ve landed home, school is the place to be for me, and has given me some amazing moments to look back on:

– I’ve been called ‘Mum’ for the first time the other week by a year 7 students. Oh, how he blushed!

– I have released my ‘inner tiger’ on the BTEC students, and am secretly still quite enjoying the look of fear on their faces whenever their slightly crazy, bubbly, science teacher suddenly transforms. The only thing I should refrain from doing in this state, is looking at the normal class teacher at the back of the class as then we will both start laughing which probably breaks the magic of the moment.

– I’ve had a good chat with some very eager year 8 students about it not being at all weird to do science at home. I’ve just realised that these students might provide a good home for the Marvin and Milo ‘Do Try This At Home’ cards I’ve got doubles of.

– I’ve gained my first teaching nickname! My year 13 students started to call me ‘Doctor Train’ as I refer at least four times a lesson to sitting on, and looking at trains — I have been teaching them special relativity.

Only a few more weeks and then a long holiday! Hold on. We will get there! And how we’ve earned it!

P.S. Anybody else going to the IOP NQT conference in July?