Philip Thonemann

11th July 2008 at 01:00
The best bit of your job?
The best bit of your job?

Those lessons where everything slots into place and you get a feeling of "lift-off". Interest is generated, content is communicated, the mood is relaxed but intellectual, disciplinary issues disappear, I am excited, and the pupils are following my trains of thought - and each others' - it seems impossible to believe that I am actually being paid for this.

And the worst?

Trying to deal with negative pupils.

What would you be if you weren't a teacher?

Perhaps a musician. I've played violin and guitar since I was a child, and throughout my career I have played with the school orchestra, as well as in chamber groups outside school. I composed a symphony (of sorts) that was performed by the school orchestra and conducted by the headteacher.

What do you like about your school?

A great deal - which is why I have been here for 32 years. The grounds are beautiful to walk around in, and the buildings are attractive. I've enjoyed working with the same wonderful colleagues in the physics department for many years. I like the great cultural and intellectual variety of the pupils. I have also never received excessive pressure from "above".

What's your ambition in teaching?

To have the best possible lessons with my pupils - that was my ambition in 1976 and it still is today.

How's your work-life balance?

Fine, but that's because I don't make the distinction. I don't spend my school day thinking: "Soon it will be time to go home, and start living." I spend my life doing various things - one of which I get paid for.

How have you changed as a teacher?

I have become more sensitive to the fact that many pupils find physics difficult.

Most embarrassing moment?

Hitting a wasp too hard in the middle of a lesson, and breaking the window. Or teaching a lesson with my fly undone. It might have been a nightmare, but I am fairly sure it wasn't.

Philip Thonemann, 58, was talking to Steven Hastings

MY CV

1976 - present: Physics teacher at Mill Hill School, London.

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

Comments

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