I’ve just finished an afternoon of work, sitting on my office chair, aka my bed, with my laptop on my desk, aka my lap and I have that fuzzy headed feeling of someone who has spent the afternoon present in body but mind elsewhere. For those that don’t know, although I am principally a stay at home mum I do home tutor, I currently have just one student, principally because I’ve been a lazy a*sed so and so and not advertised, I can when I advertise attract significantly more students however I’ve been feeling spread thin and although tutoring is bringing (and can bring) in money whereas writing really isn’t bringing in any (I have some articles on a website that occasional feed money into my Paypal account and this just about means that I rarely when I use Paypal have to actual get funds from my account as the articles put money in there for me, so basically it funds the occasional Etsy puchase) but anyway I think if I’m ever going to earn any money as a writer I need to put some effort into it even though it’s not earning money. Anyway writing dreams aside I’ve been at the virtual chalkboard today preparing for a lesson I’m giving on Monday, the electromagnetic spectrum. Now when I stated tutoring about 3 yeas ago I had to put a lot of effort in as I had no teaching materials but I was working on a long term plan that eventually I’d have all the subjects covered and then each year I could reuse the notes, which was just about to happen when of course they changed the syllabus, now I wouldn’t mind so much, I enjoyed creating the original notes, a chance to think even about the electromagnetic spectrum instead of Iggle Piggle or the intricacies of weaning was put it this way, refreshing but seeing the new syllabus just disheartens me now, as all the newspaper coverage at the change over claimed, they’ve dumb downed science and it makes me worry for this nation’s future doctors, engineers and scientists. And they’ve made it overly political, reading the syllabus you can almost hear some government suit peering over the syllabus creator’s shoulder “Now don’t forget to put in about the polyunsaturated fats because we much teach the nation’s proles how to read the back of a marg packet” or “Don’t forget to put the bit in about how the triple vaccine is really really good for you”. I’m all for obviously teaching relevant science but not at the expense of the fundamental basics that act as the building blocks for those pupils who go onto to study science at A-Level and onto degree. I think possibly the answer is two tier science qualifications, a qualification for those students interested in going to study further and could probably read the back of a marg packet without much hand holding and then a science qualification for the rest, giving enough to equip the population with the knowledge to live in today’s scientifically literate age. However there is one flaw to that, I don’t think 13-14 year olds are in much of a position to judge what they want to do, when I was 13 I hated biology, I then started my GCSE course, had a different biology teacher, someone who actually inspired me and well the rest is history, until I gave up work to have kids, apart from a brief spell as a science teacher I had spent 7 very happy years working as a biologist, including gaining (by studying in the evening) a Masters in Microbiology, but if you’d asked me when I was 13 “Do you want to drop biology?” I’d have leaped at the chance.
Anyway, I’ve been struggling with the ‘new improved’ (yeah right) electromagnetic spectrum part of the syllabus this afternoon, vague, missing out important features (I can’t use my slinky anymore, I used to like doing my slinky demonstration) and spending alot of time talking about not very important stuff. But enough of my whinging, I just hope by the time my kids do science GCSE they’ve sorted this mess out. On one final note, whilst searching the interweb for some form of inspiration on the electromagnetic spectrum I came across the following article ‘A physics teacher begs for his subject back’, read it, he puts it far better than me.
Other than that, this morning was ballet, Girl Lacer had fun, I could hear her laughing through the closed door. She came out bearing a letter full of exciting details about preparations for a summer concert, which I’m looking forward to, although it involves purchasing a costume apparently,our entire disposable income seems to be spent on fancy dress costumes at the moment. After ballet we walked back to pick up Boy Lacer for a shopping trip but Boy Lacer persuaded Mr. Lacer to come along to, which was nice, we don’t get out much as a family, even if it was only to the shops. Girl Lacer had her World Book Day voucher to spend so we went to the bookshop, Boy Lacer loves bookshops and now he’s mobile it’s very easy to loose him in them, although searching first near the cookbooks is always a good idea as he as always headed straight for them after giving Postman Pat a quick glance over midflight, obviously takes after his mummy. A real life actual children’s author was in the bookshop today talking about his book (a story about a flying cat I recognised from CBeebies as having excellent illustrations), I had to stop myself gawping or should I say drooling with envy. After that it was a McDonalds and a very cold walk back by the river and downhill from then on.