What a day!
Busy, blustery and brilliant.
Well maybe not that great but I am full of steak so I am more than happy!
Lessons were good again today - highlight was 2 year 11's in my bottom set doing some continuous writing and getting really good marks for a piece of work on healthy living and life style choices. Not bad when one is Somalian and has only been learning English for about a year and the other has dyslexia! They were over the Moon and hopefully it will give them a much needed confidence boost ahead of the final push.
Also it is nice to hear that my students are starting to sort out their college/6th form places, and a nice feeling that some of them have chosen me to give them a reference.
I have been listening to the Infinite Monkey Cage on the BBC website - http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/timc - if you have a passing interest in science or Prof. Brian Cox it is worth checking out, is very geeky and very funny in measures.
One episode about which is best chemistry of physics made me think about something else, what type of scientist am I?
By training I have a background in Biology and Forensic Science. Yet am I really a Biologist? Or a Forensic Scientist?
At one point in my life those labels might have been relevant to me but I feel they have become obsolete really. Since I started teaching all three subjects regularly.
I then started thinking about my job - as I was sorting through some BTEC folders (a very Zen activity).
Would I want to be a specialist? That's the question.
Whilst I am sure it is an amazing feeling to be a world authority on something or to work on a facet of science so intimately that it becomes your world, but do I want that?
Could I ever give up teaching to do a Ph.D. for instance?
At one time I would have said yes in a heart beat. Now I am not so sure.
What is it about Biology that made me want to study it - animals, Attenborough, Darwin, evolution, adaptation, behaviour, Dinosaurs, plant growth, nutrition, sports, experiments, genetic variation, sex etc.
Why did I do forensics - puzzles, problems, interesting, different, crime scenes, CSI + Sherlock Holmes, science, fire investigation, ballistics etc.
In short there has never been on part of any science that has consumed me. I used to think of this as a weakness, now I am not so sure.
In fact I am quite proud to say it.
I am a generalist.
A raccoon if you will http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BiVOLvhvsyo !
Yet that isn't it, I love experiments, I love the idea of playing with science and yes to me it is playing - that's why I enjoy it so much!
I am a general experimental scientist - I no longer care if it is biology, chemistry or physics! Or geography or forensics or palaeontology or engineering or anything!
If there is a question (even if I know the answer sometimes). If there is equipment - no matter how rudimentary or basic then I want in.
And I want my students to want to want in. So I try and get them interested in it.
So when a student asks me for the 1 millionth times why I am a teacher or do I get bored of doing the same science I will tell them - 'because I love experiments and I love seeing something work and I love questions'.
And that is today's happy thought in a nutshell.
Just like my students who were pleased with what they were able to do so am I - I get to blow things up, I get to set fire to things, I get to build things and grow things, I get to set and answer questions and I am never bored.
Yes the hours are long and the stress can be high and most people think I have either failed at another career or don't work very hard - all that holiday! - but they can think that.
Yes they can think that!
I am a teacher of science.
I am a scientist who teaches.
I am a big kid who gets paid to experiment and show it off.
Ladies and Gentlemen.
I am living the dream.
Who could ask for more!
I am off to digest my steak and plan a lesson on the composition of the solar system.
Check out these pictures for a sneak peak at what I will be using (truly awe inspiring) http://www.bigdogsbest.com/2010/07/earthsununiverse-scale-model-12152008.html