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Meet Scott Shaw, Curriculum Director of Science

How did you get into teaching?
Whilst completing my Master’s degree in Physics at the University of Sheffield, I engaged in a science outreach programme based in primary schools. Until that point, I’d never considered becoming a teacher and had wanted to continue into research and academia. Yet, while trying to explain to students how things worked, I was forced to come up with novel explanations. I found it challenging but very rewarding at the same time, and from that moment, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in teaching.

 Why did you decide to start teaching at a UTC?
I appreciate the vision of UTCs, “to develop the next generation of Britain’s Creatives, Engineers, Designers, Technicians and Scientists, who together will help solve global challenges”. I wanted to help link together academic and technical qualifications to develop skills in students so they can thrive in an ever-changing world, which is unique to UTCs. I wanted to be a part of this project and make a real difference to students’ lives.

 What interests you about your area?
In Science we are trying to explain how the world works so we can help to change it. I believe every subject taught in school is simply a variation of Science. Science is everywhere and connects all the other subjects together, so I’m always interested in learning something new in this area.

What is the most enjoyable thing about teaching your subject?
Even though it is not subject specific, I get the greatest enjoyment out of students’ success because it is so varied. It could be a Y9 student being able to explain why animals have adapted to their environments, or a Y13 Physics student applying electro-magnetic theory to MIR scanners, or a student pushing past their predicted grade to secure an electrical apprenticeship, or someone else achieving a grade 9 at GCSE. I enjoy seeing the impact we have on students and their future aspirations being heightened.

What has been your highlight of working at a UTC?
There are many, but if I was to pick one it would be when a student that I taught emailed me to let me know that I’d inspired them to receive a Bachelor’s degree in Physics and Astrophysics. She had then set her goals of obtaining a Master’s, Doctorate and PhD to eventually allow her to work with an agency like NASA. The student said, “Without your classes pushing me and challenging me, I don’t think I would have ever decided to make this decision. This is why I would like to sincerely thank you for being an incredible teacher.”

What are your goals for the department?
I want the department to maximise students’ success. I want Science to help students see beyond the narrow confines of individual subjects and see how the world is interconnected.

 What are your quarantine top tips?
Routine, routine, routine! Make sure you have a routine of what you do each day. It’s important to get out of bed at a certain time and have a plan of what you want to achieve each day. Make a list of realistic daily objectives and tick them off one by one, as this will help you to feel motivated.

How are you staying motivated during lockdown?
Everyone at times become unmotivated, especially during these unprecedented times. Don’t worry if you feel that you have not been productive. Sometimes taking a day off while doing something you enjoy can be the best thing to do. If you continue to feel unmotivated, I’d recommend going for a walk and doing some exercise, as this can help you to stay positive. Try to focus on the bigger picture and think about small things you want to achieve every day.

 

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