Mr Mike Thomas MSc PhD, Head of Science/Lead Teacher of Physics/3rd Assistant Housemaster, Kendon
Date you joined the School
What do you do at Bethany?
I am Head of Science and I teach Physics (GCSE and A level) and Science (KS3).
I am the third Assistant Housemaster in Kendon boarding house. I also supervise the Science Technology Engineering Maths (STEM) club.
What did you do before you came to Bethany?
I was teaching Physics at Howard High School (Zimbabwe) and then moved to Ursuline College (UK).
What is your favourite music and why?
I like to listen to the almost extinct and hard to learn type of thumb piano music played by the Korekore people of Northern Zimbabwe. When played slowly at night it is great for quiet time (meditation) and when played fast it is fantastic for dancing. I like it when played slowly and quietly at night as the sound is great.
What is your favourite quotation and why?
Exploration is wired into our brains. If we can see the horizon, we want to know what’s beyond. – Buzz Aldrin. This is the reason why people study and do research.
Why do you like working at Bethany?
It is a small and caring community where one can thrive. Bethany gave me comfort when I needed it most. In short I was allowed to thrive and develop my teaching skills over the years.
What is your favourite childhood memory?
On my first day of school I was sat under a tree and asked to write some letters on the soil by the teacher. I could not get them correct. Not a single one. A group leader was assigned to support me. However, on the following day I was writing all the letters of the alphabet correctly and the teacher would leave me to teach other children while he travelled to distant places to do his other business. As a result I was asked to skip some grades into higher year groups. I never had a text book at school or at home either.
What is your favourite school memory?
Navigating forests infested with snakes and wild animals, such as hyenas, on an empty tummy to travel 10km or more each way to school. Also having to sit for my Ordinary Subject examinations (Geography, English and Maths) while living in an isolated hut in a bush. The place had one of the highest number of poisonous puff adder snakes per square kilometre if not square metre. I was among them but none of them touched me. All was done to earn a decent education.
Who is your hero and why?
The Russian theoretical physicist Lev Landau is my hero. As a student, he corrected Albert Einstein in a lecture. He also developed a famous entry exam called the ‘Theoretical Minimum’ to test his students before they enrolled on his Physics course. The test was notoriously hard and comprehensive and only 43 students ever passed it, between 1934 and 1961. Most of those who passed were renowned Physicists. He also produced some of the finest books on theoretical Physics. I think such brilliant Physicists would do wonders for mankind like colonising the moon and other physics related adventures while also supporting the weaker who would like to study physics.