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Dr Judith Hillier

My research

As a physicist turned physics education researcher and physics teacher educator, my research interests lie in the process of becoming a physics teacher. I aim to develop a better understanding of what motivates physics graduates to enter the teaching profession. I examine the experiences of beginning physics teachers, what they need in terms of informal and formal continuing professional development (CPD) and what factors influence their subsequent career decisions. And I study how beginning physics teachers learn to explain physics – essential for effective teaching – and what processes and resources best aid the development of the subject knowledge and pedagogical knowledge needed to do this.

My journey

I worked part-time for 3.5 years, which I really enjoyed as I was able to spend time with the children. Since returning to full-time work, I have been fortunate to have an excellent nursery, a school with wrap-around care, a supportive husband and extended family. I also have a flexible job,  and have brought the children in occasionally! We have to be really organised, and I am quite firm about not working past 5pm regularly, and about limiting the amount of foreign travel I do. Retired grandparents have been really useful, and I also have enough close friends to call for help when I do drop one of the balls I am juggling.  It is possible to have a career and children, but it is hard work!