For the last five weeks of the 2016/17 academic year, 55 undergraduate students embarked on an intensive exploration of what it’s like to be a physics teacher in one of 36 state schools in England. They were taking part in the Teach Physics Internship programme, The Ogden Trust’s innovative approach to encouraging new physics teachers into the profession.
Feedback from the schools has been incredibly positive and once again the interns have been conscientious and enthusiastic. Twenty-six of the interns were nominated by their mentor for special recognition as the Outstanding Intern of the Year. These interns all showed exceptional qualities and made a real contribution to the school in the five weeks they spent there.
Ogden Consultant James de Winter, who also leads the Physics PGCE course at the University of Cambridge, had the difficult task of selecting a final winner.
“Each year I read the reflective diaries that the interns write and I am always struck by the high levels of commitment and engagement that emerge so clearly,” says James. “It broadens and deepens their understanding of schools, students and education; the interns work hard and get a great deal from it, as do the students, schools and teachers that the interns work with. The whole experience is an excellent one for those who might be considering teaching but are not sure – this is shown clearly in the journey of Chloe McGeorge, who I am pleased to announce as this year’s Outstanding Intern.”
“When I was a child, I aspired to be a teacher,” explains Chloe. “I made strong connections with my primary school teachers and wanted to be like them when I grew up. But as time went on, my interests changed and I began to encounter teachers who were not exactly inspirational. A passion for physics led me on a path of pure science and upon starting my university career, I wanted to become a research physicist.
“I didn’t apply for this internship because I wanted to go into teaching. But now I do. The experiences I’ve had at Bishop Barrington have led me to realise, I have a talent for teaching and I want to pursue it. I owe this realisation to The Ogden Trust and to the wonderful staff at Bishop Barrington.
“I now have a purpose, a goal to aim for during my final year at university. Being at the school has helped me to regain confidence and ambition I’d forgotten I had.
“The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that, for me, there’s nothing more rewarding than teaching. Every day is completely different and brings its own challenges. It can be exhausting, emotional and frustrating but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I can’t wait to become a science teacher myself. I will strive to be as kind, caring and inspirational as the teachers I worked with at Bishop Barrington for the rest of my career.”
The Ogden Internship programme offers a unique opportunity for undergraduates to sample life as a teacher, not only assisting in lessons but actually planning and delivering whole lessons. The interns experience all aspects of life in school for a teacher: making significant contributions to the science department including organising and running extra-curricular and enrichment activities, developing resources and making a presentation about careers that can stem from a physics degree. Further participation in school life is also encouraged, such as supervising school trips, helping at whole school events and observing lessons outside of the science department.
"Well done to all of the shortlisted candidate for the Teach Physics Outstanding Intern of the Year Award. I have been very impressed with the standard of the diaries and all of you have put in a great effort. Hopefully you will benefit, not only from the placement, but from your thorough reflection of your experiences and the learning that has come with it. Reflecting the high standards this year, we are also awarding a Highly Commended to Amy Dunmall. Congratulations to Chloe and to Amy."
Clare Harvey, Chief Executive, The Ogden Trust
A small selection of the interns’ reflective diaries about their experiences are now available to read on this site.