TPT 50th Anniversity book - page 23

My relationshipwith
canbe summedup in
three words:
, and
The Physics Teacher
has been invaluable to
my professional growth. I am a “crossover”
physics teacher. I was trained to be a math
teacher. Before I entered my first physics
classroom, I had no physics or even science
methods classes. I was fortunate to have great
physics teachers as mentors. Even with the
support of my mentors, I needed help! One
place I looked for help was
As a high school teacher, I was particularly
drawn to the articles
on teaching methods,
cool demos. I remember
combing through the
issues each month in
hopes of gleaning two or
three ideas that I could
use in my classroom.
Articles on physics of
toys particularly drew my
attention. Other articles
encouraged me to add
the arts and music to my
classroom. I remember
Haunted Physics Lab” and being inspired to
create a “Winter Wonderland” for the day before
winter break. As the years passed, my repertoire
of ideas, labs, and pedagogy grew.
helpedme to honemy physics knowledge.
Often, the “Figuring Physics” column would
challenge some misconceptions that I still held
to. Even in recent years, when you might think
I know my physics, I remember the series
about “Energy and the Confused Student,”
written by John Jewett. This series stretched my
understanding of the concept and changed the
way I teach it today. As a crossover teacher, it
was not easy for me to admit that I didn’t know
my physics well. By reading the articles in
I could learn my physics on my own time and
without feeling inadequate among my peers.
The articles in
also gave me confidence.
As a new teacher, I was unsure about trying new
ideas that were untested. I found that I could
trust the ideas in
because they came from
physics and the articles had been peer reviewed.
I took baby steps and tried new demos and found
them successful. These steps served to further
increase my confidence,
and I tried larger projects
and teaching methods.
The ultimate confidence
builder came when my
first article was accepted
for publication. I vividly
remember my mentor
encouraging me to submit
an article. The article was
graciously accepted and
edited. The staff at
were so encouraging. I
have undertaken other
writing projects as a direct
result of the confidence I
gained through my relationship with
Teachers need to be growing continually.
They should be increasing their content and
pedagogical knowledge during their entire
career. They should become confident in their
ability to share the beauty and exhilaration of
physics with their students and peers.
is a
fantastic tool for physics teachers at every phase
of their career. I am certain that my students,
colleagues, and even my family have benefitted
frommy relationship with
Diane Riendeau
Diane Riendeau is a physics teacher at Deerfield High School in Deerfield,
IL. She has taught physics for 24 of her 25 years as a teacher. A member
of AAPT since 1992, she currently serves as the High School Member-at-
Large on the AAPT Executive Board. She is also editor of the
“YouTube Physics.”
is a
fantastic tool for
physics teachers
at every phase
of their career.
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