I was at the end of my second year studying for a BSc in physics at the University of Leeds when I applied for a Teach Physics placement. I applied because I wanted to get an in-depth classroom experience. During my time as an undergraduate, I’ve been able to do outreach work for the university – delivering workshops in schools – which gave me the initial bug for teaching. An internship was the logical next step to take things further and gain more classroom experience.
During my placement I was able to observe lessons across the year groups; I offered additional support to students and answered questions. I delivered two practical lessons and a career talk to a Year 12 group and gave a careers presentation to Year 10. I also helped with school trips, outside science activities and cataloguing resources. Being able to take part in all aspects of school life made me feel included and gave me a first-hand insight into everything that goes on behind the scenes at a school – delivering in class is only part of it – every day is different and there is always something to plan for or look forward to!
Throughout my placement, I learnt different techniques for classroom management and maintaining discipline; I learnt the importance of lesson planning, practice, structure and time management; and the importance of proactively engaging with students – especially those who might be more challenging. My time at the school taught me that lab technicians are invaluable and cultivating good relationships with them is key. It also gave me an insight into wider school life, and I saw how teachers get involved in so much more than just delivering their lessons.
I found that every teacher has their own style in the classroom. Some are louder than others! What struck me most is that they all really care about their pupils. One teacher said to me that during secondary school, the teachers see more of the pupils than their parents do. That really stuck with me as it showed me how much responsibility you have as a teacher and the really positive effect you can have on the pupils’ lives.
My confidence skyrocketed during my placement and I loved every minute of it. My only regret is that I didn’t have longer to get to know the students. Teaching is definitely the career for me, and I’ll assess the best course of action to take after my BSc finishes next year.
Teach Physics intern 2019