The Future of Physics

By Jackson Lee

Mrs. Bradley jokes with students as she goes over an equation.

At first, it may seem like any other room in the Math and Science building. The desks neatly arranged into 3 long rows, all facing towards the whiteboard on the opposite side of the room. Textbooks and various other assortments of physics related items are scattered across the back counter. After the lunch bell rings, students pour into the classroom and take their seats in the rows, waiting for the class to begin. However, the classroom has some unusual features that make it stand out from the others. First, an ominous makeshift pendulum hangs down from the ceiling, made of a bowling ball secured to a long white piece of rope. There’s an assortment of weights attached to winding pieces of plastic attached to a metal stand next to the main desk. To the right of it sits the teacher’s desk, where Mrs. Bradley resides. She’s a warm, inviting character, with a strong sense of humor and a positive attitude that seems to be contagious for anyone and everyone in the room. However, there’s just one problem surrounding Mrs. Bradley: she’s moving to Florida after the semester.

Mrs. Bradley is the very first teacher at Jenks High School to have taught the course of AP-Physics 2, a continuation of the AP-Physics 1 course, but she also teaches AP-Physics 1 and C.

“AP-Physics 2 picks up from where 1 left off. It goes more in depth about circuits, magnetism, and electricity. However, there’s newer concepts such as optics, thermodynamics, nuclear physics, modern physics, and fluids. These topics aren’t covered in either AP-Physics 1 or C, so it does have a lot more to offer students.” Mrs. Bradley said, and then jokingly stated, “I hope I didn’t lose you with those terms, it might have been a lot.”

Mrs. Bradley explains a complex problem to her students.

Since she teaches each physics course available, it can get overwhelming having too many students in her classroom. Because of this, two other prominent physics teachers were hired to help take on the overwhelming amount of  students. Mr. Jullien and Mrs. Langley both teach the AP-Physics 1 course, but that still leaves Mrs. Bradley with the students looking for 2 or C. Even though Mrs. Bradley’s courses are more advanced and difficult, everyone still seems to love her as a person.

Mrs. Langley described Mrs. Bradley as “an amazing teacher and a colleague. She not only knows her material, she also loves all her students.”

Though she doesn’t want to leave, she doesn’t really have any other options. Her husband was given a job opportunity and has been down in the sunshine state for the past 6 months. Mrs. Bradley opted to stay behind as she didn’t want her students to be at a disadvantage. Once Mrs. Bradley leaves, she said she’ll be looking for another teaching job, and with her credentials, it’d be hard for anyone to turn her down.

This puts Jenks in a predicament however, as Mrs. Bradley is the first and only teacher to teach AP-Physics 2. The questions that are buzzing around this topic would be along the lines of “What’s gonna happen to the class?” or “Are they gonna find a replacement for Mrs. Bradley, or get someone to fill in her spot?” With everyone so worried about the courses offered by her, speculation is in the mind of her students. Though this creates a big issue for the department of physics, everyone is supportive of Mrs. Bradley.

Mr. Jullien’s opinion on the idea of her moving sums up just about how everyone is feeling and thinking about this problem. “She’s a fantastic teacher, and we’re going to miss her terribly. I think she’ll do great down in Florida, and have no trouble finding a new job.”

Mrs. Bradley’s replacement hasn’t been found yet, though administration is working hard to find someone to fill in the position the beloved teacher holds. Mrs. Elizabeth Harwood is one of the administrators in charge of finding a replacement. She’s working diligently to find someone capable of filling in the AP-Physics 2 and C position that’s about to open. An idea that’s opened up about this topic is pretty straightforward; Why can’t any of the other AP-Physics teachers teach the course? Ms. Harwood dug into this question.

“There’s other teachers in the department that could teach AP-Physics 2, or AP-Physics C,” she says. “I do have some onboard to teach AP-Physics 1, but with AP-Physics 2 and C, I am planning to put out an application for people interesting in the role from outside of the district.”

“Applicants would have to have a college degree certified for teaching physics, and that person would have to attend physics training. They would have to have these qualifications to be able to teach AP-Physics 2 and C.”

Finding new teachers can be a lengthy process.  While sing the current teachers in the district might seem like the better option of the two, Ms. Harwood said there are many factors to consider.

“We haven’t discussed the idea of the current teachers switching to teach the course, and I haven’t looked at the numbers. The numbers drive how many sections of the different classes that we offer, and that applies to Physical Science, Physics, and all the way up. The numbers come from the requested classes students want to take, and a certain amount of students signing up for classes also helps determine who teaches what, and that changes from year to year. Students have to sign up for a course to make it possible to organize. Without student’s interests, some classes may not even be a choice.”

As the end of the semester is approaching fast, students have no choice but to work hard and enjoy their time with the fantastic woman known as Mrs. Bradley. With the fate of the AP courses up in the air, it might seem scary to have a figurehead of the Physics classes leaving. At this point, all we can do is wish her the best, and hope that she brings her amazing attitude to a whole student body. As Mr. Jullien put it,

“We might get a new teacher, but it won’t be another Mrs. Bradley”.

Mrs. Bradley messes with her bowling ball pendulum.

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