My name is Yekaterina Tatarinova but at Step Up more people know me as Katya-Physics. The nickname originated five years ago during the Summer Camp at Belskoye Ustye. There were three Katyas so we had to be clear about who was who. At that time I had just finished my fourth year at the Physics Department of Moscow State University – so I was known as Katya-Physics. In September of that year I came to Step Up – then known as ROOF – to teach physics, and the nickname stuck.
In my first year I had a very difficult group of 17-year old boys. It was necessary to spend half the lesson calming them down so they could concentrate. I had to explain to them how to learn, take regular breaks so that they would not get tired, and interest them as best I could.
I’m most happy when I succeed in showing some sort of beautiful experiment, when I find a good video clip that goes with the lesson, when I think up an explanation that the students understand or simply when I use some sort of relevant game – and the lesson becomes more vivid and more entertaining. It’s true that the equipment for experiments has to be improvised and a lot of things are, therefore, impossible to do. But I try and overcome all these difficulties and pull myself up by the bootstraps to become a better teacher.
In general, Step Up is a place that’s difficult to leave. The atmosphere here is just right – one feels needed and there is interest in each and every person. Come and visit, we will be pleased to see you!