Joshua Wengraf

PGCE in Secondary Science: Physics

Joshua is combining his passion for physics with his love of storytelling and caring for others. His empathetic nature and motivation to succeed have secured him a role at an independent school in Birmingham.

 “During my time at sixth form I was able to undertake some teaching experience. It allowed me to gain early exposure to the profession, explore teaching as a career path and assess whether it aligned with my interests, skills, and aspirations – which it did! 

To me, the main appeal of becoming a teacher was the pastoral side of the role as well as my enjoyment of physics. I see my subject as a way of capturing the kids' imaginations and telling them stories, and ultimately inspiring them to achieve more.

You work with lots of pupils on a daily basis and you have the opportunity to change all their lives at least a little bit. Helping kids every day through pastoral care is the best part for me; they come to you with a problem, and you can help them work it out. Once, a pupil came to me having a panic attack and it was rewarding to help them through it. As a science teacher, you can sometimes come up with questions that really hook the kids, you talk it through with them and they respond with things like “that’s so cool!” which is also really satisfying for me.

Being a BCU student has opened up many collaborative and interdisciplinary opportunities for me. I’ve been able to work together with fellow students from different subjects as well as researchers and professionals from other disciplines. This multidisciplinary approach has broadened my perspective and inspired me to cultivate diverse ideas and techniques. My course has also helped me to develop pedagogical knowledge and skills, subject matter expertise, provided me with hands-on classroom experience and the opportunity to work amongst other aspiring teachers.

At the start of my course, I dealt with imposter syndrome and felt as though my work wasn’t good enough. I dealt with this by prioritising the practice of self-care. I would recommend this to any current or prospective student; exercise, take up a hobby, meditate, spend time in nature and generally look after yourself, because ultimately, looking after yourself means you can bring your best self in to the classroom.

Being a teacher is transforming me into a better person; I’m more organised, more confident, better at public speaking, and my time management has also improved. To be a teacher, you have to be able to receive feedback, including constructive criticism, and be prepared to make changes as you go through the process. It’s a big surprise to me how much of teaching is actually about establishing your identity and your confidence.  

To me, I AM BCU means having the space to develop as an individual as part of a wider community. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to learn and to be able to go on to shape young people’s futures.”