2 comments By wendy
As a chemistry teacher with 34 years experience I hope I'm bringing a lot to the classroom. Mainly delivering A level chemistry means I have seen many changes and revision of the A level curriculum. Whilst I welcome wholeheartedly reintroduction of the linear approach and thankfully the death of the ISA, I have noticed that with the increase in maths skills there has been a decline in girl's results. This is not just a pattern I have noticed but in some of the "top" independent girls's schools in Britain.
Girls, in general, have less confidence in their maths skills and applying these to novel situations. I am fortunate, having taught linear, to be able to help them overcome these perceived obstacles. Unfortunately in the current climate experience is valued less than cost. Any graduates coming into teaching will have been taught using the modular approach and will not see chemistry as a holistic subject.
Why the government is giving golden handshakes to try and attract new people into chemistry traching, those with greater experience are sidelined. In th old days I would probably have earned the respected title of LEA advisor. Now my salary has stagnated, my workload has increased dramatically. Much as I love the model of eliciting, valuing and linking and tend to do this on a matter of course, the problem lies in the quality of the teacher in the classroom and the ability to see the whole picture.
I believe it is the responsibility of the Royal Society of Chemistry to lobby the government to recognise the value of experienced STEM teachers and keep them engaged in the profession if they wish to engage future scientists.
It is great that bursaries are being offered to entice in new blood however as a very experienced Head of Chemistry and Lead Practitioner my take home pay is rewarded with £1000 for my responsibility as Head of Dept. There is little to entice talented graduates or to retain our best teachers.
The squeeze on Sixth Form Colleges means that we have very little planning and assessment time and the stress is taking its toll on teachers and therefore students. Younger chemistry teachers themselves were raised on a modular diet and need training in how to deliver a linear syllabus.
I really welcome the return of a linear syllabus, having taught this pre 2000, it is the only way learning truly develops the chemist.
RSC we need government lobbying to increase RESOURCES for retention and training.
I met John in 1992 at an RSC funded Chemistry Teacher Course at the University of York when we were generously given 4 days to learn about application of NMR, optical isomerism to chocolate making.
Sadly with the stress placed on marketing and recruitment of new students to retain funding my colleagues and I cannot get out at this time of the year or any other.