Science is awesome! I grew up on the coast of Kenya, and was introduced to science early. My father was doing his PhD in Tuna Fish Migration – he’s a big game fisherman, which meant I got to spend my formative years elbow deep in shark guts. One of my favourite birthday presents was a little microscope, so I could look at onion skins, spider webs and dust while my dad sat next to me mounting slices of tuna liver on slides. After he came home from fishing, my job from around age five was also to help clean the engines, or help make lures using an ancient lathe.
As a teenager I loved school, and had excellent teachers for most of my subjects, but I particularly respected my science teachers. My class nearly revolted when our beloved chemistry teacher left just before our final year! I studied Physics, Chemistry and Biology at A Level, and my favourite topics were Genetics, Inorganic Chemistry and Astrophysics. I was also incredibly lucky to get a holiday job with a snorkelling tour company, spotting dolphins so regularly that I was able to recognise most of them by the shape of their fins. I used to spend my free time writing notes on their behaviour and movements. It was from this point on that my path was set in stone.
My mum is a teacher, and I spent most of my high school post-exam periods sitting with her class of ten year olds and helping them with their studies, and realised very early on that I wanted to be involved in education as well. I went on to study Biology at the University of York. For the first time I was completely surrounded by people just as passionate about the subject as I was! I was able to get involved in projects that got me into a classroom as well, such as tutoring and mentoring.
After my degree I went straight into an Oxford Brookes University graduate teacher programme, teaching in Banbury. Classroom teaching was an amazing experience, full of superlative ups and downs. One of my favourite memories is of a 12 year old boy who came up to me every lesson with a diagram of a new idea for a perpetual motion machine. Every day I’d praise the things he’d got right and explain why this particular one could never work – we got into some really complex physics, which makes me wonder if I’ll one day see his name in New Scientist, having finally got his machine to work.
I left the classroom in 2010 to have a family, but couldn’t bring myself to stop teaching. I’ve been tutoring constantly since then, and look forward to every lesson. I love the fact that the courses are evolving too, especially the introduction of more quantum physics in the A Levels – I’m excited to be going on a course on quantum and particle physics in November! So please, if you have any questions or need anything, don’t hesitate to contact me.