- Imagine you are sipping tea or coffee while discussing various issues with a broad and diverse network of students, colleagues, and friends brought together by the common bond of physics, graduate school, and the physics GRE.
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So, I have my BS and MS in Physics from a smaller school and my PhD in material science, and I want to teach physics at the smaller school where I got my degrees. I am finishing my first postdoc in a chemistry lab and starting my second one in January in a physics lab (at that same small school). I do computational research in material science, so my work in DFT translated well to working in the chemistry lab (if you were wondering). My question is more a discussion topic for anyone new to becoming a professor or who maybe has the knowledge about this topic: what knowledge expectations are there when you apply to become a professor. I have a solid background in physics and maths, but I haven't taken, for instance, a course on advanced dynamics/mechanics in a few years and am thus rusty on those topics. I tutored lower level classes throughout my degrees so feel my knowledge base is much stronger in the courses up to say electromagnetic field theory and quantum mechanics at the undergraduate level, but I in no way feel prepared to teach a graduate level class. Are these things that are picked up in teaching the class (my intuition says yes) and you are expected to just have a love of teaching?? My imposter syndrome gets the best of me and makes me question whether I can even teach these classes, but I know that deep down that my passion for teaching (have tutored and taught labs throughout my undergrad and graduate degrees) and my want to continually learn should be a good metric by which to judge my ability as a professor. I had a terrible experience trying to apply for a position at the Navy Research Lab, where my knowledge level was not at the level for they were looking, and i felt completely defeated. But I know that I have the ability to keep learning and work hard at improving my knowledge bases as I go, so I'm just not sure what they expect of you. I don't plan to apply to places like Yale or Caltech as those are much higher level than I really want to teach, but at a smaller school I think I would do well. Any suggestions, advice, experiences would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!