Chance was a Teach Physics intern at Sidney Stringer Academy, Coventry (2015); he then School Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) at the same school and is now an Engineering and Science Tutor at TDR Training.
“I graduated from Portsmouth University in summer 2015 with a BSc in physics; just before graduating I started a four-week internship as a Teach Physics intern. By 2016, I was a fully qualified teacher completing my NQT year at Nuneaton Academy; I am now an Engineering and Science Tutor with TDR, a training company based in the north east. It’s been a long ride and it all started with The Ogden Trust.
As a student, I hadn’t given much thought to teaching; I knew I wanted to be in the profession but had little idea of what being a teacher really entailed. So, I did the logical thing and put on a suit, went down to my old school and observed some lessons for a few days. As I was watching those lessons, listening to the teacher and observing the students it suddenly hit me, I have absolutely no idea what I’m looking at. I had some notes about what happened in the lessons but that’s all, a chronological account. I hadn’t gained anything from it, because I didn’t know what I was looking for or what questions I should have been asking, and at this point I was beginning to question whether teaching was really for me.
Luckily, I had just been approved as a Teach Physics intern. The internship was different from the outset – having a mentor to plan and review each week was invaluable. We would talk about what I had seen in observations and what questions I should have been asking, decide what lessons it would be good for me to observe and what lessons I could have a go at teaching. Being able to get in front of a class and teach a lesson at that stage was amazing; I had to learn how to lesson plan, how to manage a classroom and how to talk to students, which I hadn’t even anticipated would be an issue. It also gave me the opportunity to feel that rush of excitement that is teaching. After feeling that, I knew this was definitely the profession for me.
In my opinion, the internship’s most crucial aspect was how it helped me to become more reflective. I had to keep a reflective journal to document my time at the academy; the Trust even provides guidance on what counts as being reflective, which was handy. The reflective process remained part of my life even as an NQT – at every stage you have to look back and re-evaluate everything from lessons to simple conversations you might have had with a student, finding new ways to further yourself. It is still relevant today, and will be for the rest of my career as these skills are fundamental to a successful life as a physics educator.
The internship taught me a lot about teaching, and put me in a position where I was able to go on learning and stand where I am today. I can honestly say that without the internship I would not be in teaching today, and there would be one less physics teacher in the world – if that doesn’t highlight its importance then I have no idea what will!”
Teach Physics intern, 2015