Building contacts and accessing support
On 23 August, the Royal Society of Chemistry hosted its first early-career chemistry teacher event at Burlington House. This offered teachers at the beginning of their careers the opportunity to network with other teachers and access advice from teacher-support organisations.
Around 45 early career teachers from the UK attended the day, which featured talks from CLEAPSS’ Matt Endean, who spoke about microscale practicals, and University of Sussex teacher trainer Andy Chandler-Grevatt, who explored strategies for managing workload. Christine Marsters from the Education support partnership offered expert advice on developing stress resilience.
‘The retention of science teachers is a huge issue at the moment. In 2016, the National Foundation for Education Research found that 31% of science teachers were considering leaving the profession. We want to help teachers access support during the critical first years of their careers,’ says RSC education executive Becca Parker. ‘We also want to help them network with other teaching professionals who may become crucial contacts as their careers progress.’
Further sessions focused on curriculum enrichment, science capital, effective practical lessons, and ways to support lower-attaining students. The day was ‘really varied’ says David, a teacher from Southampton who attended the event. He adds that it was a ‘great opportunity to talk to others in a similar position. [It was] also amazing to talk to more senior colleagues to see where common pitfalls are.’
‘It was worthwhile attending the event to connect with teachers at the early stage of their careers,’ says Naoko from London. ‘It was great to find out a wide range of information on managing workload [and] seeking help on stress related issues … I certainly feel less anxious to start [the new term].’
‘We hope all of the attendees found the event useful,’ adds Becca. ‘The feedback has been really positive and will help inform our planning. We can’t wait to host more early-career chemistry teachers in the near future.’