Graduate Profile

Charlotte Farmer - MPhys Theoretical Physics 2011

School Teaching

I spent four interesting and enjoyable years at St Andrews. I relished having the opportunity to spend every day thinking about physics and explaining the world around me.

However, I had always had an interest in teaching and sharing my love of physics with other people. As part of our 3rd year transferable skills project my team were given the opportunity to go into a local high school and explain the physics behind hovercrafts. This was a fantastic opportunity as it gave me the chance to try teaching physics in the classroom and think about what made good and bad teaching.

In my third year I also received a university travel grant to allow me to teach English in Mexico, during the long summer break; the picture alongside shows me with one group of young people. This experience cemented my interest in education and I relished the challenge of trying to teach students who didn’t speak my native tongue.

After graduation I took up a place at Oxford University on the PGCE course. During this year I learnt not only the theory of teaching but also was able to put my ideas into practice in front of real classes. The first lesson I ever taught was terrifying, now I look back on it and think “how can I have been that scared? “.

I now work at Caterham school (which is just outside of London) and love the daily challenge of explaining physics to my students (I actually get to discuss quantum!). As well as the teaching side of my job I participate in a variety of extracurricular activities. These range from going on Duke of Edinburgh expeditions with students, working as a boarding assistant in one of the boarding houses and developing a programme to get girls enthused in science (the physics of jewellery was a big sell).

I strongly recommend teaching to anyone who enjoys working with children and loves the challenge of explaining physics to anyone. You’ll certainly never be bored!

First posted BDS 13.5.14