Senior teacher

Aaron Herber’s journey into the world of physics and teaching started with his desire to know how the world worked.

Aaron explaining robot building and programming at a robotics summer camp to a Year 10 student.  Appleby College, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. August 2019
Aaron explaining robot building and programming at a robotics summer camp to a Year 10 student. Appleby College, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. August 2019

Career: Head of Physics, Assistant Head of Science, Head of Digital Teaching and Learning at St Peter’s College, Auckland.
Programme: Bachelor of Science (Honours) majoring in Physics, Master of Science majoring in Physics, Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Secondary).

“I love knowing how things work. I also love the unknowns in Physics, the smaller or bigger you go, the less we know, I find that exciting” he says.

That dichotomy lead him to the Department of Physics at the University of Auckland where he completed both his Bachelor of Science and his Master of Science, majoring in Physics.

“I was very lucky during my time in the Department.  I enjoyed the comradery of my peers and faculty in the Department, and my professors were always happy to help.”

Aaron’s deep interest in Physics, coupled with his natural ease around other people, made him consider secondary teaching as a potential career path.

“It seemed like an interesting job working with interesting people [teachers and students] - every day is different,” he says.

He completed his one-year Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Secondary) in 2011 and went on to secure a position at St Peter’s College (a Catholic Boys School in Auckland).

Seven years later his day-to-day job currently involves leading the school’s Physics department and extracurricular activities, such as with his ‘nerd herd’.

“I also assist in leading the school’s science faculty, and as Head of Digital Learning I’ve been involved in establishing a totally BYOD [bring your own device] school.

“Most importantly, as a classroom teacher I get the opportunity to enthuse students to discover the exciting world of Physics.”

The knowledge Aaron gained during his masters degree helps him provide his students with interesting, in-depth lessons including creative demonstrations and novel practical activities.

“Every student has so much potential, both academically and creatively. I was attracted to teaching because of the creativity I can express when developing interesting and fun activities to tap into that potential in students.

“More in-depth Physics knowledge helps extend students’ learning in more than just science. They ask their crazy questions and I can answer a lot of them, but sometimes we have to learn together. I also get to play with lots of fun Physics equipment. It can be a hard, but very rewarding job.”

During his time at the University of Auckland Aaron received financial support for his studies through a Faculty of Science scholarship, and a TeachNZ scholarship for his teaching diploma.

As a keen kayaker and rafter, he made the most of his recreational time by joining the University Canoe club.

Aaron’s advice to those thinking about studying Physics is to just “Do it! Have projects and tinker. Physics is all around you.”