Physics Teacher Advisory Group (PTAG)

Meet the Physics Teacher Advisory Group (PTAG)

PTAG is a group of physics teachers across the region who are dedicated to making sure we better advise and prepare our future physics teachers while providing us recruitment ideas and serving as a mentor/professional network for our majors.

Tom Browntom_brown_0.jpg

Q: What do you love most about teaching?

A: I love interacting with the students about physics concepts.  They have so many misconceptions, but since they are teenagers, they think they know everything!  To be a part of their transition to a different understanding of the world is a joy.


Q: What surprised you the most about teaching?

A: What surprised me the most about teaching is how much I have enjoyed it and varied it can be from day to day.  I went into teaching thinking that I would last about 5 years and then get bored with it.  That was 26 years ago!

Q: What's your favorite physics concept?

A: Energy is my favorite topic because it applies to all situations and is such challenge to our society today.

dishman1.jpgKasi Dishman

Q: What do you love most about teaching?

A: TEACHING! I love getting to see students discover new topics and challenge their current understanding of the world around them.


Q: What advice would you give to someone thinking of becoming a teacher?

A: Stay focused on what you have decided to make your career. Changes in legislation, student demographics, administration, and educational philosophies can be constant distractions from the real task at hand: caring for and educating youth. At the end of the day if you can take away even a small victory or reminder of the good things and why you really signed up for the job, all of the other things fade and the day will be worth it.

Thomas Hefner


Q: What do you love most about teaching?

A: When a student understands a concept and you see the "light" come on.


Q: What made you want to become a teacher?

A: I grew up in a union home in North Carolina, and the labor movement is a part of me to my core.  I wanted to find a job/career that was something that gave back to society but also allowed me some room to be part of the broader labor movement and not as a sideline supporter but someone that was a union member.  Teaching and nursing are two areas that fit the bill. 


Q: What surprised you the most about teaching?

A: It is a ton of work and there really is never enough time to plan and to do all the parent contact that is needed along with setting up and cleaning up labs which can be time consuming. 


Q: What advice would you give to someone thinking of becoming a teacher?

A: My advice would be to have very modest goals on owning homes, and driving nice cars.  There are also a few of perks such as the option of having summers off and a nice break over the winter holidays.  The needle needs to move towards better salaries and more support in general and that is not going to happen without the efforts of teachers themselves, but while that is being worked on, also focus on the positives -- the students that care and the students that are giving it their all --that is what makes the job rewarding.


Q: What's your favorite physics concept?

A: Optics. The math is not over the top at the high school or even AP level so it can be understood at a conceptual and mathematical level by most.  But what I really like are some of the labs in waves and optics.  It never fails that some student will get an image on a index card using a lens and simple meter stick optics "bench" and after it is focused be in awe that the image is in color. Usually this is followed by an "Oh my Gosh, it is in color!" statement from at least one student.  It is a fun moment for me to see as a teacher.  Full disclosure: I had the same moment myself as a student while doing a lab with Dr. Lindsey in PHY 1104 lab standing outside of Rankin Science and forming an image of Duncan on an index card. That is most likely the reason I enjoy this moment as a teacher.  I can relate.