Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Microteaches #6: What Day Is It?

I don't remember being so tired coming into the first half-term of the year before. I've had to be reminded several times this week what day it is. As I went into college on Monday to do some marking, Tuesday felt like Saturday. Today felt like a weird hybrid of Saturday and Sunday. And now half-term is nearly over. Meh.

So here's some of the stuff I've been favouriting (watch the English teacher I'm married to cringing at the imaginary word...) on Twitter and in my feeds.

There's an uplifting report on women's progress in STEM, reported in the Huffington Post. I'm not overly impressed by the image used to illustrate it - blue liquid in a graduated test tube, being held by a beautifully manicured finger that is no doubt wholly impractical for the majority of scientific lab work.

However, the positive aspect of the HuffPo article is tempered by a LinkedIn study reported in Jezebel that one in five professional women have never had a professional mentor, let alone a female one. Might I still be in academia if I had? Maybe. I know that the day one female professor came to find me, told me she could see I was suffering from depression and that she was taking me for a coffee and a damn good chat was one of the brightest moments of my whole dismal experience in St Louis.

I don't have to enforce a uniform, thank FSM. I know muggins would end up being the one volunteered to tell the girls their skirts were so short one could see what they'd had for breakfast. According to the Torygraph, schools are increasingly banning skirts in favour of trousers to ensure girls don't look like ladies of negotiable affection and incur the interest of prospective rapists. Yeah, right, because no schoolgirl wearing trousers has ever been raped. I remember there being quite a to-do about whether we got to wear trousers at school. My mum, as the wife of one of the deputy heads, went up against the headmaster's wife, and won - trousers became part of the uniform. Didn't stop my chemistry teacher writing up on the board at the start of the lesson:

Sure, dress your lower limbs in pants;
Yours are the legs, my sweeting.
You look divine as you advance...
Have you seen yourself retreating?

Turns out a large number of the young people caught rioting in August were in receipt of free school meals and/or on the special educational needs register. And yet we're facing the deepest education cuts since the 1950s. Something doesn't quite add up - probably the budget-holder at the Department for Education.

Some oddly familiar psychadelic images from science textbooks have been dug up. Is it any wonder all us biology teachers are a bit weird?

Creationism continues to loom, though I am heartened that the OCR A-level Biology specification quotes Theodosius Dobzhansky (I want to move exam boards for A-level). There is a call for more stringent guidelines on teaching creationism. There may be reason for optimism in the face of Muslim opinion on evolution - this is something I'm following closely, as I'm very much hoping to write up my PGCE research as a paper.

Finally, Kevin Zelnio has issued a call to arms on evolutionary biology and viral marketing - the last thing we want is for creationist websites to be the top hits on Google!

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you lot enjoy half term. I'm just glad its over...


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