Are you new to physics teaching? Here are some helpful tips and resources for starting out on the right foot!
Get a mentor.
Teaching in a classroom all day can be isolating unless you work to build a support network and find an effective mentor. A good mentor will ideally be an experienced and skilled physics teacher who can non-judgmentally challenge you to improve your teaching practice, help you to deepen your understanding of physics, and empathize with you when things don't go well. Mentoring can be formal or informal, in-person or virtual, and you can start any time! Within the AAPT, you can seek out a virtual coach in the eMentoring program or reach out for help by contacting local AAPT sections or on the discussion lists.
Set career goals.
You might be new to teaching altogether or a cross-over teacher from another discipline. For those new to teaching, it's never too early to start thinking about career milestones, such as getting a graduate degree, becoming a Physics Teaching Resource Agent, or achieving National Board Teaching Certification, the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching, or National Teacher of the Year, among many others. For cross-over teachers who are already experienced teachers, it's never too late to think about those opportunities!
Strengthen your physics content and pedagogy.
The beauty of physics is that it describes the world in the simplest ways possible, yet some concepts are very challenging to master. To improve your content knowledge and pedagogy, seek out discipline-specific learning opportunities, including the AAPT's bi-annual conferences or Physics Teaching Resource Agent workshops, and reading The Physics Teacher magazine. For additional opportunities, review our list of affiliated organizations, such as the American Modeling Teachers Association, which offers 80+ workshops annually.
Enhance your teaching resources.
While experienced teachers frequently feel that there is too much to do, teachers new to physics are often eager to seek out resources. View our vetted collections of free digital resources at comPADRE.org. Join or watch a webinar, and see lessons inspired by teacher-contributed articles.
Share your successes.
Teaching thrives on a "sharing economy." When you share your ideas, be it through peer-reviewed journals, at a conferences presentation, or informally through social media, you widen your impact multi-fold. Some popular Twitter hashtags include check out #physed, #physicsed, and #modphys on Twitter.
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