Preoccupation with content coverage and the application of mathematical formula emerges as a recurring criticism of physics courses. Current curriculum reforms which aim to contextualise and humanise physics rely on teachers doing things differently in their classrooms. Focusing on the work of one experienced physics teacher and his attempts to come to grips with the meaning of a new syllabus, this study confirms that change is not a linear process but is characterised by uncertainty, hesitancy and gradualism. The teacher was found to be using a number of change strategies which went beyond the importance of connecting the pedagogy with the content. Four strategies are identified: articulating concerns, seeking freedom to experiment, modelling the message and reflecting on practice.