Somerset Times

Science Then...and Now




Somerset Times Edition

Week 4, Term Two, 2018

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Science at the College has come a long way in Somerset's 35 year history. A Senior teacher who has taught from the day the College opened, offers a brief comparison.

The year is 1983. I have been appointed to a teaching position at the newly established Somerset College. There are four-and-a-half Senior teachers, seven Junior teachers, one permanent classroom block and seven demountables.

2018 - T2 - W4 - chemistry

Day 1 starts and there is no running water. We have blackboards and chalk but no-one remembered to buy blackboard dusters. Our duplicator is a spirit gestetner machine – by the time the copies are made the user feels woozy. The Science laboratory is a classroom with a laundry sink in one corner. I have sawn up blocks of wood before leaving home to use for a friction experiment. My foot is hurting after one of them fell on it.

Fast forward to 2018. We have 11 Science teachers, six Science classrooms, two laboratory assistants, computers, heaps of equipment and commercial printers. Overhead projectors have come and gone, whiteboards have replaced blackboards and interactive whiteboards are replacing those.

Has teaching Chemistry changed? Not in any significant way – the thing that has changed is how we are expected to assess the students. We had QSA, the ASAT test and TE scores, now QCAA, the QCS and OP scores. In 2020 the biggest change will come with external exams.

The thing that has not changed at all is my love of teaching and the pleasure I get out of interacting with young people.

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