January 2024: Brad Talbert

Lone Peak High School, Highland, Utah

Brad Talbert

  • Member since 2021
  • Teacher
  • Highland, Utah

About Brad

I originally received an engineering degree from BYU. A year in the oilfield industry of Wyoming made me rethink my career. I’d always thought of teaching, so that seemed like a good alternative. I attended SUU and received a degree in mathematics with a physics minor. During that time, I made some connections with physics professors and a High School physics teacher who was a great mentor for me. When I finished my education, physics was all I wanted to teach. I’ve been teaching physics for about 30 years now and it was the best decision I ever made (apart from marrying my very supportive wife).

I joined AAPT to have access to The Physics Teacher and the great ideas often presented by experienced teachers. Since then I have found value in being part of this professional community. It has provided many opportunities to connect with, collaborate with, and learn from many other teachers. I have had the opportunity to attend a couple of national AAPT conferences. What a great experience to rub shoulders with other like-minded people. I have gleaned many ideas from AAPT publications. The articles are interesting and help me feel part of the larger physics community.

One of my mentors and friends throughout my career has been the great Duane Merrill. Early on in my career, he taught me that physics ought to be accessible to all students and not just the elite seniors or juniors. Students ought to leave physics excited about taking their next STEM class or at the very least not soured on physics. I have tried to make that vision a reality in my small corner of the world. I am grateful to many, many people I have met over my career who have served as friends, colleagues, and mentors.

I get energy from being around my students. I like seeing them when they finally realize that they are capable of so much more than they originally thought when they came into physics. I like the projects we do. I have projects that are largely non-math but which still apply the principles being learned. I like this. It makes the project low-stakes for grades and gives me a chance to connect with students in a manner different from usual classroom routines. And it gives those students whose talent lie in design and construction a chance to shine.