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No wonder most physics graduates don't teach at secondary level

Discussion in 'Thinking of teaching' started by frankgus, Mar 11, 2011.

  1. Well the title of the post says it all,

    I am a physics graduate a 2:1 in Astrophysics, I also have a Post graduate diploma in Optoelectronics, and have just finished a PhD in nuclear physics, where I have collaborated and attended many international experiments at laboratories such as CERN. So you would think that I would be qualified to teach physics to secondary school students, well according to Sunderland University I am not.

    As I have said, I have just completed my PhD, and instead of going into industry or continue in academia, I wanted to be a secondary school teacher so that I could pass on the knowledge and experience in physics that I have gained. So after spending so many years as a student ( a lot of debt) I thought I would apply for the Graduate teacher program, in the North east where my roots are. Anyway I did this around three months ago and today I received a letter which told me that I was not qualified enough to be accepted for the role.

    I didn't even get an interview ! Well I just find it a complete joke ! As I say in the title it is no wonder that physics graduate snub teaching, when they are clearly more appreciated by academia and industry.

    Anyway I will now most likely become a post doctoral researcher, and then go on to also lecture physics to undergraduate students. The next time a hear a someone say that we need more physics graduates to become teachers, I will kindly tell them to shut up !
     
  2. From what you have expressed on here it seems you aren't exactly determined to be a secondary teacher. This is one setback, if you really wanted to be a teacher you would overcome it somehow, instead you are 'taking your bat and ball home' as my mother would say! I entered teaching with a PhD in chemistry 5 years ago through the GTP route, as the previous poster has said they are hard to come by in the current era of cutbacks to funding. You don't say what experience you have working with secondary aged children, perhaps this is what was holding your application back? Ring the university and ask them specifically why they feel you aren't qualified. it may be something very simple.
     
  3. From what you have expressed on here it seems you aren't exactly determined to be a secondary teacher. This is one setback, if you really wanted to be a teacher you would overcome it somehow, instead you are 'taking your bat and ball home' as my mother would say! I entered teaching with a PhD in chemistry 5 years ago through the GTP route, as the previous poster has said they are hard to come by in the current era of cutbacks to funding. You don't say what experience you have working with secondary aged children, perhaps this is what was holding your application back? Ring the university and ask them specifically why they feel you aren't qualified. it may be something very simple.
     
  4. From what you have expressed on here it seems you aren't exactly determined to be a secondary teacher. This is one setback, if you really wanted to be a teacher you would overcome it somehow, instead you are 'taking your bat and ball home' as my mother would say! I entered teaching with a PhD in chemistry 5 years ago through the GTP route, as the previous poster has said they are hard to come by in the current era of cutbacks to funding. You don't say what experience you have working with secondary aged children, perhaps this is what was holding your application back? Ring the university and ask them specifically why they feel you aren't qualified. it may be something very simple.
     
  5. Totally agree with kritur, GTPs are very fought, there were over 440 applicants for 22 places on the GTP I applied for.
    They can afford to be choosey, and are looking for candidates who want to be teachers and have demonstrated this by gaining experience in a class room.A PhD and excellent subject knowledge is not enough.
    You should seek feedback, andif you really want to do this act on it.
     
  6. nemo.

    nemo. New commenter

    Hi well apart from maybe something silly like "astrophysics isn't physics" I'm guessing it's that you dont sound like a GTP candidate to be honest!

    Do a pgce! You get a 9k bursary and student grant (well prob will) and student loans are at 1.5% at the moment. Think of it as a grad tax not a loan. It doesnt appear on credit checks etc so doesnt effect future mortgage apps etc.


    I have a PhD in physics but I can understand the reluctance of some to employ you as a teacher on GTP simply as you sound too theoretical! Why become a teacher? It requires a lot of soft personal skills not required in a research environment. Mostly you would be teaching all sciences to younger kids. I happen to like that but had done tefl before with primary kids while travelling so new I liked teaching.

    Visit a school and see what it's like. Being spat on, sworn at and generally ignored by some kids makes teaching more social work at times! Turning them around to engage with science takes more than subject knowledge
     
  7. But what experience do you ahev with secondary aged children?
    I too had undergraduate teaching experience (although 2 yrs was in scotland so I had 17 and even 16 yr olds in my groups) but also had schools liaison and 2 weeks full time experience in a school.
     
  8. Just apply directly to private schools who don't need a PGCE..... They'll appreciate your PhD more.
     
  9. nemo.

    nemo. New commenter

    GTP positions are super competitive and they really suit "natural" teachers as it is more "full on". I am more sympathetic to your dilemma as I ahve a PhD, but I don't see the determination to work with kids. Have you taught English to kids? Have you done STEM days? That would be a great way of showing you have an interest in teaching kids. Also a PGCE is the best route for more academic types IMHO especially if you end up going for higher end school where you can teach physics to A level.
     

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