9 comments by Kristy
Thanks for the comment Tom. Nice to hear you are in agreement with the overall message I am putting across (although I am also happy to hear when people disagree, life would be a lot less interesting if we all agreed!). Of course this is not knowledge vs skills however you have to allow the editorial office and myself as the writer a certain amount of artistic licence in generating a headline that will encourage people click and read.
I'm not sure I agree with your 'teaching chemistry' vs 'teaching everything else'. These skills need to be framed in the context of teaching the chemistry or else they are undervalued and considered add ons. So in teaching these skills we are also teaching chemistry, just not chemical concepts.
Some excellent advice here!
A great interview to draw a defining president's term to a close. Secondments in particular can change teaching careers (including mine) and more needs to be done to provide these kinds of experiences to teachers especially when retention is such a problem.
In justifying I really meant sticking to sensible electron movements rather than delving back into the physical chemistry behind it. So the response to 'tell me about this arrow' might be ..."the lone pair on the nitrogen is attracted to the C with the d+ charge" or more likely "I don't know, I just drew it like that..." in which case you can probe further!
As someone who was Ross's scholarship mentor it makes me incredibly sad that he has left the profession for the reasons he has, all of which are completely valid. Teacher salaries aren't keeping pace with graduate salaries and there are no longer the other perceived benefits like pension and job security. The pension for new starters isn't great and the fragmentation of the profession through the academies programme has eroded job security.
Bursaries make it possible for career changers to retrain but they don't address the real problem, chronic underfunding of schools leading to suppression of salaries. I can see Ross's point on a cost/benefit analysis...!
Opening the debate on this up again, it seems an opportune time as the dust is settling in new specifications.
I'm still in agreement with you Tom, possibly even more so than the last time I commented. It is easy to set past paper questions, they're plentiful and readily available. It's also (relatively) easy to mark them. Similarly it is easy for kids to find the answers to them and markschemeitis is a real condition often manifesting itself in homework exercises...
An excellent article and an important issue that is often overlooked. I do think the chemistry education community can be a little complacent about this. We're proud of our current record on gender equality at A-level but don't acknowledge what a shaky foundation this is built on. I would hate to see the effect on our numbers if all UK medical schools decided they wanted A grades in physics A-level instead of chemistry.
This is no surprise. Teaching remains financially much less attractive than other jobs that well qualified chemistry and physics graduates can access. Add onto that the regular 'put downs' from government, a hamster wheel of continuous curriculum change and the fragmentation of the profession and its security through academisation and is there little wonder many would prefer something like accountancy? Furthermore it is only the tip of the iceberg, we're not training enough and we're not retaining those we have, the pipeline has leaks everywhere and this is largely ignored. I absolutely love my job but I'm not sure I would be so keen if I were a new graduate starting out in teaching today.