On my last prac week, I had an interesting conversation with my mentor teacher about curriculum. We discussed the silliness of the IB physics curriculum (the best analogy I can think of would be trying to drink physics from a fire-hose) but found we had differing ideas about the most fitting content for a secondary school physics class and really, the purpose of introductory physics altogether. Coming from a physics research background, I have always tended to think that the most fitting content for an introductory class is mechanics and some basic electromagnetism with maybe a little thermodynamics thrown in. It’s what you do at uni, and it teaches problem solving and critical thinking skills, not to mention a basic awareness of what’s going on around us in everyday life. My mentor’s take is that you should try to cover a lot more content than that, including optics and a range of topics relevant to medical physics because students find it interesting and it’s also relevant to their lives. This brings up the provocation: what will my students want and need from me? I understand the point that students want to cover more content, to get to the more “interesting” stuff, I just wonder what cost it comes at. Covering too much content is inevitably going to mean you don’t go into depth, and risk not addressing students’ non-scientific conceptions of physics. It’s something I still find myself thinking about weeks later. Maybe the best answer lies in having a true inquiry based classroom where the kids get to explore concepts and the curriculum emerges. Problem is, the BSSS won’t ever sign off on that. Will I be allowed to be the teacher I want to be?