NASA star joins flight to schools

3rd September 1999 at 01:00
A DISILLUSIONED NASA scientist is desperate to trade his work studying the planet's oceans for a classroom full of teenagers in an English secondary.

Dr Robin Williams, an expert in climate change at NASA's headquarters in Maryland, United States, is one of the latest recruits to a government scheme to attract mature maths and science graduates to teaching.

The disgruntled researcher said: "I'm not going to the moon or anything with NASA. I just sit in front of a terminal and send e-mails back and forth.

"I got involved in oceanography because I wanted to go and look at the sunset and the whales, but now everybody just sits in front of satellite data. At least in teaching you have human contact."

Armed with degrees in mathematics, a Phd in oceanography, and a masters in meteorology, Dr Williams - originally from England - travelled to America in 1995 after finishing research at the National Remote Sensing Centre in Farnborough.

Even then, he was interested in teaching, taking up a temporary post at the town's Salesian College. But his lack of a postgraduate certificate in education was a major obstacle

Now, he has been offered a way in through MS600, a scheme run by private employment agency Time Plan. It is a way of side-stepping the prohibitive costs of a year of unpaid study, allowing Dr Williams to achieve qualified teaching status through on-the-job training in schools. He is now searching for a school in the West Country to take him on.

According to MS600 project manager Geoff Brown, Dr Williams is one of hundreds of recruits attracted to the profession by the relaxation of the qualification rules.

The project aims to recruit 600 maths and science graduates in one year. Mr Brown said the project was hitting its targets but would not release figures ahead of its half-year report.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now