One of our Senior Assistant Principals, (Head of Physics) Mr Peter Tiktin, has retired after more than 40 years saying teaching is a rewarding profession that has changed, notably with the rise of technology in schools: ‘When I was teaching in Doncaster I remember having the school’s six BBC computers under my control and teachers took them home at the weekend to try and learn how to use them! Now you are talking about schools equipped with hundreds of computers and hand-held gadgetry of one sort or another.
‘Science has also progressed; there is a lot more about DNA and genetic engineering, and more coming out about sub-nuclear particles at CERN, that sort of thing, but probably you would recognise 85 or 90 per cent as the science curriculum as it was 40 years ago. Students nowadays have a lot more pressure on them from coursework demands and a lot more expectation to succeed.’
Mr Tiktin began his career in inner-city London before moving to Newcastle, Doncaster and Lutterworth, joining Brooke Weston 14 years ago, where, as well as teaching physics, he has had periods in charge of examinations, been responsible for Primary School Liaison, helped introduce the school’s Information Management System, led the Year 7 trips to Fairthorne and co-ordinated the Masterclass programme for more than a decade.
His Sixth Form students have shown their appreciation by presenting him with a Kindle and he said goodbye to his Year 11 tutor group at the end of term Prom. However, Mr Tiktin won’t be relinquishing his links with education as he has been appointed a Governor at Kettering Science Academy and also has plans to teach part-time, as well as taking part in charity projects, DIY and researching his family tree.
‘Teaching does go through cycles; however, we do get more and more students succeeding now. The amount of time now that is spent on children is a lot more. Before to a large extent you used to teach your subject in secondary school, now you teach children. It is a big step forward.
‘Some of the best lessons are where things happened in the lesson that led you off onto a different tangent. One of my first lessons was with an A level group and we were talking about the internal structure of a battery. So we spent the next two lessons cutting up tin plates, braising them together and putting the right package of chemicals in and the excitement was in testing those batteries to see if they worked. You would run a science class after school where someone would build a crystal radio and they would burst with excitement when they actually heard something through the headphones. You realise that you made a difference.
‘Teaching is a wonderful profession and I would encourage people to go into it, but it is not an easy profession, it is harder now than it used to be. One of the things I have enjoyed at Brooke Weston is taking the children away on residentials. If you start with them at Fairthorne and go with them to Paris, you know the students inside out and you have a shared set of memories and watch them grow up. You see students who were children that you took to Fairthorne but who are now at the Prom looking extraordinarily grown up and treating each other with respect. It is the students you remember. Obviously you remember the staff you have worked with but you shouldn’t be in teaching if you don’t love the students because that is what it is all about.’