THC(WA) B AppSci DipEd(WAIT)
John started at the School in 2002 as a Physics teacher and in 2003 became Head of House. Before joining Christ Church he spent 23 years teaching in Western Australia’s government system as a physical sciences teacher.
Back when John was a Year 11 student, a challenge from his Physics teacher ultimately led him down his chosen career path as a teacher of Physics. His teacher at the time saw some wasted potential in John and challenged him to improve his Physics mark. This resulted in John discovering his interest in the subject, as well as an ability.
“At that stage I had no real career path,” John reflected. “I probably always knew it would be something to do with Mathematics or Science, but my teacher probably gave me that focus that was needed at the time.”
John said he now did a similar thing with his Physics students at Christ Church. “You need to find something the boys will latch onto. Often you need to provide a challenge or set their goals for them.”
John said Physics was a “means to an end” for many students, who needed the subject for entry into their chosen university course. “Part of the trick is getting their attention and making them motivated, so you’ve got to find something that’s relevant and tap into their interests,” John said.
“Obviously things that go bang, and give off heaps of smoke are always appealing. We had a lovely lesson the other day on light. The boys discovered they could burn things with light reflected off a concave mirror.”
John said Physics was an important subject because of its relevance to everyday life. “There are lots of different aspects that tie in for life,” he said. “For example, just simple things like the way electricity is used, and how mechanics can be used to make life easier. Physics also gives context for Mathematics by showing that something is not just an equation, but a real-life application.”
John finds the constant challenge of “getting inside the boys’ heads” extremely interesting and rewarding. “The content of Physics hasn’t really changed over the years but what has changed, and is constantly changing, is the way in which kids see the relevance of Physics and find enjoyment in it.”
John’s Head of House role provides him with a different focus to that of classroom Physics. “Ultimately I’m there to nurture the 120 boys in Moyes to give them the best opportunities they can get,” John explained. “Particularly with Year 8s, it’s about making them comfortable, getting them used to the School routine and helping them establish themselves within the School. Then moving on, it’s about giving leadership opportunities and encouraging them to push their potential.”
John said he particularly enjoyed the relationships he formed with the boys. “You see them for a full five years. The wins you get and improvements you see are extremely rewarding… Working with the house prefects is the icing on the cake. They are motivated and industrious, you know them very well and you form great relationships.”