Please Introduce yourself
Hi, my name is Mr Tendai Matsvai. I am a Deputy Head of Science and a GCSE Science and A-level Physics teacher with over 5 years of experience.
Tell us about your favourite subject to teach?
Team Physics! For me, its not only one of the most interesting topics in school, but it also helps us understand our world in ways that no other subject can.
From the very small - like quantum mechanics and particle physics- to the very large - like the different sizes of stars in or universe - Physics has something for everybody, no matter what your age or level of expertise is.
At Secondary School level, Physics is split into Key Stage 3 (KS3), GCSE and A Level. Each of these levels gets progressively more detailed and challenging, allowing you to build on your knowledge and gain a better understanding of how our world works.
At KS3, students are introduced to the basics of physics, which helps them gain a better understanding of more complex topics later on. This includes things how eletric circuits function or the planets of the solar system.
At GCSE, things start to get a bit more challenging, as students are required to learn and apply physics concepts to all sorts of situations. For example, they may be asked to calculate the momentum of a tennis ball bouncing off a wall or describe the diffrent types of radiation.
At A Level, students get the chance to really dive into the depths of physics. This includes things like atomic theories, particles physics, waves and classical mechanics.
No matter what level you're at, learning physics makes the world make more sense, and I love nothing more than taking my students along on this journey.
Tell us about a successful student that you remember teaching?
I am immensely proud of one of my A-level students, who had achieved a dream he had for years which was to be awarded a scholarship to attend an American university. It was a long journey for him, and I'm glad for the part I was able to play as mentor and supporter.
I was there as he studied daily, working hard during his classes with me to achieve his goals. I saw the determination and dedication he put into each and every class to reach his goals- even when faced with disappointments or obstacles, he never gave up!
When he was accepted by the university, I was elated and humbled by his achievement and the fact that my guidance and support could be part of this successful story. Seeing his joy and enthusiasm at the acceptance letter was a moment I will never forget.
This success story has taught me that with the right kind of support and guidance, anyone can reach their dreams no matter how big and ambitious they are. When it comes to education, nothing is out of reach if we stay determined and never stop believing in our dreams.
One top tip for GCSE Science students?
The 40-60 rule! This rule is key to success in your studies. What does it mean?
Simply put, you should devote 40% of your time to getting to grips with the content – use mind maps, flashcards, and other tools to ensure that you have an understanding of the various topics of Physics. Once you have done this, you should turn your attention to the practical side of things and focus on answering questions. Spend 60% of your time now doing as many practice questions as possible from past papers. The more questions you do, the better prepared you will be.
Now, I know that studying and completing practice papers might not sound like the most fun thing to do right now, but trust me – it is worth it. I can guarantee that if you make the effort to devote yourself to studying and answering questions, you will see great results in your GCSEs and A Levels!
So don’t give up! Remember the 40-60 rule and you will be on your way to success. Good luck and remember - Past papers are your best friend!
One top tip for A Level Physics students?
My 40-60 rule above for sure but also try and sign up to masterclass hosted by universities. They are a GREAT chance to get extra exposure to the subject!
Any advice for parents looking to help their child with Science?
At its core, science is about learning and discovering things to be curious about in the world. But too often, students see science as a daunting and intimidating subject. That’s why it’s so important for everyone in their lives to make science more accessible.
First, try to encourage your child to talk about what questions and interests they have about the world around them. Ask questions that help them to explore the unknown and establish connections between different ideas and concepts. Have conversations that spark wonder and awe in them. Show them how science is part of everyday life, whether through a cooking recipe or the design of a building.
Second, make sure to celebrate the successes of your students. Even when they don’t get the right answer or make the right prediction, remind them that science is about trial and error and that everyone has setbacks. Acknowledge their efforts and encourage them to keep trying.
Third, present them with opportunities to learn more on their own time; this shows that you recognize their natural curiosity and confidence in their ability to learn. Help them find topics related to what they're learning in school, and research on their own. Even something as easy as going for a walk with them outside and talking about the things you can see and why can become a great learning opportunity for them.
And finally, encourage collaboration among students. Science is a great way for students to learn from each other, so get them together in teams or projects and make sure they are feeling comfortable discussing the material. Let your students make mistakes, challenge each other, and come up with creative solutions together.
Making a difference in a student's science understanding is possible with just a few simple steps. With a little bit of effort and enthusiasm, you can help your child understand the science around them and even become excited about it! Watching them become curious about science and seeing it show in their grades and participation at school can be a truly rewarding experience.
A common mistake you see kids make?
Not reading the questions properly!
That key lesson I tell my students is to always read the entire question before you attempt to answer. It's a mistake that many of us, no matter how well we understand the material, can easily make. We see a keyword, or think we know where the answer lies, and start writing without fully grasping the bigger picture.
That is why I strongly urge all of you to take the extra time to read the question, find all the important words and numbers and then think about what the best solution may be. Doing so helps us better understand the task at hand, and it encourages us to think more deeply about the questions we're being asked.
The more conscious effort we put in to this step, the more successful we will be over time. It's easy to slip into the habit of not taking the extra time to read question for exams and school, but these small changes to our behaviour can have profound effects over time.
Why do you love what you do?
As a Deputy Science teacher, I can say that the most rewarding experience is being able to help a student understand and appreciate the science world around them.
I have seen firsthand how helping students learn and grow intellectually and morally can bring a sense of fulfillment. Watching as a student grasps a concept and demonstrates newfound knowledge – that's what being a teacher is all about.
As a teacher, I strive to provide my students with the tools they need to explore their natural curiosity and find answers to their questions. Through my lessons, I want my students to gain a deeper understanding of the world they live in.
My primary goal as a teacher is to share my passion for Science, and Physics in particular! I strive to show my students why the science world is so important, exciting, and inspiring.
We, as teachers, all have an incredible responsibility and opportunity to share our knowledge and wisdom with our students. By doing so, I hope to have a profound effect on their future.
Fun fact about me
I have completed the tough mudder challenge and the Ealing half marathon!!