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The High School Low Down with...Mr Smith

The High School Low Down with...Mr Smith

Next up, the High School Low Down is spotlighting Mr Ian Smith, a Teacher of Physics at the Senior School.

Mr Smith was appointed 19 years ago in session 2002/2003. He runs Physics Club for pupils in Transitus to Second Year where they’ve been exploring the more playful side of the subject, programming robots!

He is nationally recognised across Scotland thanks to his YouTube channel, Mr Smith’s Physics online, which, at the time of writing, has 17.6K followers. He launched this in 2016 to give kids across Scotland access to free Physics teaching at National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher.


Give us the low down: what was your path to the High School?

I’m originally from Aberdeen and I taught in two schools there before moving to Glasgow and taking up my role at the High School.

When did you know teaching was your calling?

I studied Applied Physics at university and after this I undertook what turned out to be a physically impossible PhD…! As part of this, I taught MSc students and this sparked my love of teaching. When I was deciding what I wanted my career to involve, becoming a Physics teacher was an obvious next step as it brought together a number of my passions – Physics and teaching.

Tell us your biggest highlight at the High School so far?

A fairly recent highlight was working with a team of pupils to take part in the ‘F1 in Schools Competition’. Pupils assembled a team to design various iterations of a racing car prototype using CAD Design Software and 3D-printing, ultimately landing on an aerodynamic and fit for purpose car design.

Race day itself was a highlight with a real sense of excitement and achievement among pupils. In 2018/2019 we won a ‘Future Stars Award’ and in 2019/2020 a second team won the ‘Judges’ Choice Award’ in recognition of their hard work collaborating with another school in order to manufacture the model car.

Describe yourself in 3 words

Driven, enthusiastic and easy-going.

If you could choose one song as your desert island disc, what would it be?

I love Jazz and so it would have to be Chet Baker’s ‘Fifty Italian Strings’.

Who or what inspires you most?

I have a ‘Wall of Inspiration’ in my classroom where I have pictures of all my heroes. Zoe Ball’s dad Johnny Ball features here because, growing up, his TV show ‘Think of a Number’, was one I really enjoyed, it was both educational and fun. Where I can, I try to make my teaching fun and this has definitely been an influence.

What’s one thing you hope to never forget?

My address!

What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to someone?

Think outside the box.

And finally, give us your low down of the High School

There are lots of opportunities at the High School. We strive to ensure our pupils make the most of their potential both in and outside the classroom. This is evidenced in so many ways but one that comes to mind are the School Productions where drama, music, art and design and lighting come together to create something truly memorable.