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Subject conversion to physics - advice?

Discussion in 'Science' started by ZanyInsany, Jan 20, 2016.

  1. ZanyInsany

    ZanyInsany New commenter

    Hi. I have the opportunity to move from my current subject to teaching physics. What are your thoughts? I know I would benefit from a skills top up or something like that, but what do you think about a non-specialist teaching physics and literally learning as I go...?
  2. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    Learning it as you go is probably not the best idea. Brighter kids will pick up on your doubts and you might find it damaging your confidence.

    But definitely I'd recommend teaching physics. Take the time to do a subject top-up and go for it. If you have the chance to swop now without the possibility of a top-up, dedicate some time to swotting up on the current specifications and content. Stay more than one step ahead of them.
    wanet likes this.
  3. applecrumblebumble

    applecrumblebumble Lead commenter

    Are you coming from a science background or are you considering learning all the biology and chemistry up to GCSE level?
  4. MathSci

    MathSci New commenter

    Welcome to Physics. I would advise you to start by reading a good textbook such as Advanced Physics for You by Keith Johnson and answer all the questions before embarking on teaching the subject. Confidence in subject knowledge is no. 1 in teaching.
  5. ZanyInsany

    ZanyInsany New commenter

    I am just going to teach physics.... It is my understanding that I have no need (at the moment) for biology and chemistry. KS4 is broken down and taught by subject specialists for each strand of the qualification... Is this not normal practice?
  6. applecrumblebumble

    applecrumblebumble Lead commenter

    In a grammar school/ some independents it is likely that subject specialists teach there own subject but in most schools it is expected that you can teach all 3 sciences up to GCSE level and a subject specialist at A level.
  7. Jameslabtech

    Jameslabtech New commenter

    May I suggest you get a white coat, not a lab coat but one that ties at that back.

    Mathsci suggests Advanced Physics for You by Keith Johnson and I second that motion. One of our science teachers has just got that for himself as a top up of what he knows. But I can tell you now learning as you go for physics is a bad idea unless you already have a good knowledge of physics. If its just topping up what you already know then you should be fine.

    Also you mention that KS4 is broken down but what about KS3 will you have to teach anything there or will you just be physics based?
  8. MathSci

    MathSci New commenter

  9. oHelzo

    oHelzo Occasional commenter

    Institute of Physics are awesome! Loads of support and resources for you, they do CPD days too, full of practical discussions and experiments. You can volunteer for their Lab in a Lorry if you have a science or engineering background, which will give you a feel for physics teaching.

    Depending where you're coming from, you might have an idea of the outline of the physics curriculum and whether you have enough background knowledge to underpin it and relearn all the in-depth stuff. And then find the practical 'hook' for grabbing their attention and making it accessible. Both are equally important for a subject that can be so practical and yet so theoretical at the same time.
  10. Goat2

    Goat2 New commenter

    Institute of Physics have a massive agenda to increase the physics teachers in schools so be wary of everything they claim! A few years back they suggested that engineers could become physic teachers and only teach physics or Maths. This group were not very popular in schools as they needed all sorts of timetabling to only give them that. Also how will you fit into a science team if you only support such a narrow range of the curriculum? I'd suggest you check out the STEM Centres and see what post-training course you can do. If you were not already a QTS then a six or one year enhancement course would be the best way in. You are still not saying your background - so why have they offered you the opportunity to cross over?
  11. ZanyInsany

    ZanyInsany New commenter

    Thanks for all your replies, they have been very helpful. My background is DT and prior to that engineering. My school have offered (unbelievably) a day release to top up my physics skills, to run along side 4 days teaching physics. I am incredibly flattered by the offer, but what do you, the experts think?
  12. applecrumblebumble

    applecrumblebumble Lead commenter

    I think it is worth doing as you say unbelievable. Just keep in mind you are able to teach physics only and that suits your school but if you wanted to widen your experience you will need the other science subjects as well (up to GCSE level).
  13. brothermunro

    brothermunro Occasional commenter

    Certainly we physics teachers are becoming rarer and rarer! Be aware that physics specialists will often end up teaching just physics (certainly up here in Scotland) so make sure you are happy with that change.
  14. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    Given your background you're unlikely to have any problems - it'll be about getting to know the syllabus content as much as a physics refresher. The school's offer sounds fantastic - DO IT!!!!!

    Seriously, why would you want to teach anything else? ;)

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