The Big Picture
When the rest of her peers were starting summer placements, Sarah thought there was nothing for her to pursue in teaching as schools are off for the entire summer, so how could she teach on her break? The placement that Sarah then found offered five weeks at the end of the school year, which was perfect for Sarah as it was after the university exam period.
Sarah worked as a physics teacher at a secondary school in Coventry for five weeks in summer 2015 as part of the Ogden Trust’s Teach Physics Internship. Initially, Sarah was observing lessons at the back of the class, slowly building her involvement with the pupils until, by the end of the placement, she planned and taught entire lessons on her own.
“The Ogden Trust is a physics-based charity… they do scholarships and internships, both in schools and in industry.”
The Learning Curve
“The amount of time they spent lesson planning when they weren’t teaching like surprised me a lot”
Like most people, Sarah hadn’t fully considered how much planning a teaching role involves alongside standing at the front of the classroom in lessons. Additionally, Sarah was nervous that she would end up not liking the experience as she desperately wanted to become a teacher, but thankfully she greatly enjoyed the placement.
“I’ve worked with young people before but I was never that confident with it, and by the end of the week when you started off standing in the back of lessons and you’re ending up planning and teaching your own lessons that really shows how far I came in 5 weeks and I was so proud of myself.”
In Sarah’s Own Words…
Full video transcription
I’ve kind of always wanted to teach like ever since I was a little kid and so when everyone else in the year was talking about their Internships and supplying to all these industry places I was like “I don’t think I can do that for teaching because there isn’t really that opportunity” like you can’t teach at a school over the whole summer because schools are on summer holidays and it just happened that I’ve worked with the Ogden Trust before and I got their yearly diary of the things they do and it mentioned this teach physics internship which was just five weeks at the end of the school year and it just had a perfect.
The Ogden Trust is kind of a physics-based charity so they do scholarships and internships like this, both in schools and in industry, and so basically what I did is I spent 5 weeks in a secondary school in Coventry. I was in lessons almost all the time helping the staff, helping the students, and by the end of it I was giving my own lessons and teaching classes myself. It was really nerve-wracking especially because I knew I desperately wanted to teach and I was slightly worried that I’d get in there and not enjoy it and then have to completely change my career path. We kind of took it slow for the first few days. I mostly stayed in the back of classes and watched and walked around and watched rather than actually participating that much and then after a few days I started working with the kids in small groups or one-on-one and kind of getting more involved and just building it up.
What surprised me was like the fact that you’re on your feet so much more than you are as a student because the teachers stands at the front of the class and walking around and stuff things like that and the amount of time they spent lesson planning when they weren’t teaching like surprised me a lot because you just think of teaching as standing in front of the classroom, but I just give us so much more to it. I’ve worked with young people before but I was never that confident with it, and by the end of the week when you started off standing in the back of lessons and you’re ending up planning and teaching your own lessons that really shows how far I came in 5 weeks and I was so proud of myself. One of the year 9 girls I taught came up to me and said I think you’re destined to be a teacher and that built my confidence so much that it meant I’m so much more likely this year to get involved with things.
The Next Step
“One of the year 9 girls I taught came up to me and said I think you’re destined to be a teacher.”
Following a very enjoyable placement, Sarah continued her studies with the intention remaining to become a physics teacher upon graduation. After completing her MPhys degree in 2017 she now works as a secondary-school physics teacher.