Joshua Underwood - March 2018 Member SpotlightSpotlight Archive

Member Spotlight

Josh Underwood
Tollesboro, KY

I first became a member of AAPT through a gift subscription from a physics professor during my undergrad years.  My connection to the group only got stronger as I moved into student teaching because my supervising teacher was a Physics Teaching Resource Agent (PTRA).  I kept asking him where all of his great labs and gizmos came from and the answer was always AAPT or PTRA.

Thankfully, I was able to join PTRA early in my career. Teaching in rural Kentucky, where I was the only physical science teacher in the district, this network had a huge impact on me.  I learned so much content and pedagogy from being around this group.  Also, being a PTRA allowed me to work with teacher outreach early on.  I value this experience because it allowed me to meet many physics teachers around Kentucky, gave me experience being up in front of peers, and it allowed me to start paying forward the benefits I had received by being a part of AAPT/PTRA.

I honestly believe that the biggest resource for new teachers is the experience of veteran teachers.  I think that the AAPT has done a great service for its members though its work with Compadre and DigiKits.  Due to the lack of grants and funding, there are not as many workshops available today as have been in the past and so that personal sharing of experiences isn't as widely available, but teachers in need have this reliable collection of resources built upon that experience that they can still explore and use.

So for all that the AAPT does, I say, "Thank you."  Thank you to the leadership for keeping this organization moving forward and the membership for its contributions of knowledge and experience that are shared for the benefit of students and teachers everywhere.

I'm also involved in the AAPT/AIP Aspiring to Lead Policy Fellowship which empowers teachers to advocate for education-related policy issues they are passionate about.