Helen Reynolds - Teaching and Learning Coach - Stimulating Physics Network

What attracted you to a career with IOP?
I had been involved with the Education Department at the IOP for many years when I was teaching, and had seen the range of resources and support that they provided to schools in England. When I decided on a career change working as a Teaching and Learning Coach seemed a perfect fit, moving from teaching students to supporting others who do. It was an opportunity to spend time thinking about physics, and about teaching it, two of my favourite things.

What opportunities has working at IOP provided you with?
It has been very exciting to see the impact of the Stimulating Physics Network in the schools in which I work, and to take on more and more schools as the project has continued and expanded.  As with any role you learn from experience, and it is good to see the workshops that I have developed evolve and improve.  It has also been very satisfying to work with some teachers who now feel themselves able to provide CPD for others as a result of our work together. That and seeing more girls doing A level physics! 

What does a usual day look like for you?
There is no usual day!  On one day I could spend the morning working with a range of people in a department; some who want to make their lessons on electromagnetism more engaging, some who want to revisit basic concepts in electricity, a team leader keen to forge links with the maths department. On another there could be an entire department, all 15 of them, sticking their arrows on their apples and working out what the arrows mean, then letting off rocket balloons.  There is nothing quite like the ‘light-bulb’ moment when someone realises that they had never really understood what was happening in a circuit, and now feel that they do.

What do you enjoy about working at IOP?
The best thing about working for the IOP is the people. Working with a group of people who love physics as much as you do, who find it fascinating and are happy to discuss bits of it, and how you might teach at length is really fun. The SPN Summer Schools are an annual highlight and a chance to learn from colleagues. I have not worked with a more eclectic, knowledgeable, and interesting group of people.