Graduate Profile

Paul Reynolds BSc Physics 1998

I decided to study Physics and Astronomy at St. Andrews University as it was highly regarded throughout the world as a strong University and department.  I started with the intention of studying astronomy and astrophysics, however as time went on I realised that I enjoyed pure physics far more.  The flexibility the module choices allowed in the first two years meant it was extremely easy to change.

The four years I spent there were some of the best of my life.  I often look back on that time and laugh at some of the things we got up to.  Apart from the fun there was the small matter of trying to attain my degree. 

I eventually graduated with a 2:1 honours degree in physics and have since become a teacher of physics in Mallaig High School in the north of Scotland.

During my time at St. Andrews I applied to the department for a small grant to travel to Zambia to work in a locally run safari park, that not only catered for international clients but also helped to preserve the natural eco-system.  The grant that was awarded helped me to spend some time in a wonderful country and while there I learned of VSO (Voluntary Services Overseas). 

After finishing my degree I joined VSO and taught physics for two years in rural Zambia.  This was an incredible experience that I would urge everyone to consider upon completing their degree.  On returning to the UK I went back to University to study for a Post Graduate Certificate of Education.

The PGCE course at Jordanhill, Strathclyde University was very interesting.  It was a one year course that was a mixture of theory based classes and practical sessions in different High Schools.  Having taught in Zambia for two years took away some of the nerves, slightly, but coming face to face with any new class can be a daunting experience. 

All in all though kids are kids no matter where you teach and with a few exceptions children are great. They certainly keep you on your toes, that's for sure. The interaction with the children whether that be in the Physics class, in more of a guidance role or even on the football park (I am the school football coach) is interesting, sometimes fun and certainly never boring.  At times teaching can be extrememly stressful, as with all jobs I'm sure, but it also comes with a great feeling of job satisfaction.

I now not only teach physics but am also Principal Teacher of Pupil Support (similar to the 'old' Guidance teachers).  I love teaching, and the skills I learned throughout my four years at St. Andrews help me deal with whatever is thrown at me whether it be physics based or not.

First posted BDS 30.6.05