Thursday, 7 January 2010

My favourite science lesson

I was recently thinking back to science at school and how it would have had a bigger impact on my life if I'd realised the significance of the subject when I was actually at school rather than some years afterwards. Damn.

I was an average student and Science, Spanish and English were my favourite subjects, during my GCSE years I had two science teachers as I was doing double science - Mr Newman and Mrs Linton. Their lessons were very different in style but their lessons were my favourite during my latter years at school.

Mr Newman, was a lovely teacher, us kids considered him as cool and I liked and respected him because he would often tell me that I had the ability to raise my grades if I tried, and I did because it was nice to think that somebody thought I had that potential. I wasn't a very confident child at school - in fact, I was classed as socially inadequate and would have to go to weekly special lessons with other socially inadequate pupils to try and help us develop our personal skills

We were basically the kids who either had genuine social illnesses, were being bullied or actually had mental health problems. Looking back on it after being diagnosed with severe panic disorder and social anxiety in 2009 I can see that perhaps the problem my doctor diagnosed in 2009 had been effecting me for longer than I realised? Who knows...

The special class would consist of no more than ten of us who would sit around drawing and colouring in self esteem posters, or writing on a blackboard what it was we liked or disliked about ourselves. The lessons were designed to help us integrate back into the groups of our peers when in fact all it really did was make us Even bigger outcasts.

Mind you, we got to go on a free trip to McDonalds at the end of term so it wasn't all bad, and me and the other socially inadequate people (haha) actually became good friends and they were some of the nicest, decent people I knew.

Anyway, back to the subject, Mr Newman was well known for bringing his guitar into science lessons and I remember one memorable lesson in which he sat in front of the table I sat at with three other students and sang the class a song about atoms and particles. It was very entertaining, it was sort of like advanced playdays.

This is my third favourite science lesson simply because afterwards, whenever I was revising I would just sing the song back to myself. I don't remember the words now unfortunately, but I do remember it coming in handy during my GCSE exam.

Mrs Linton was a rather flamboyant mother like figure who was the wrong kind of person to get on the wrong side of. I can remember her voice being quite high in tone, but I'm convinced that this was just so that those of us who wanted to learn our education could hear her over the idiots in the class who didn't. She was a cool teacher.

I used to learn a lot in her lessons because she was a challenging teacher to learn from. I mean this in the sense that she never made it easy for us, but at the same time she made the subject so interesting (or at least, in my mind she did) that I would always push myself to understand what it was that she was explaining to us, and when I reached that moment where it all become clear it was a wondrous feeling.

It was with Mrs Linton that I got to dissect a pigs heart. Every student had a pig heart to themselves. We sat in groups of four, two students either side of a large table facing the other two, and I can remember my group of four really getting involved with our dissection and being able to physically handle and look at the parts of the heart we had been learning about. It was probably one of the best lessons I ever had. I think that secretly my inner science geek had been calling out but I had been too nervous in class to really get involved very often, but with this project my inner science geek was in heaven.

Obviously now that I am older and wiser I have mixed views on animal rights and whether I feel that sort of thing in the classroom is right or not. However, I'm glad I had the chance to do that because it was an incredible learning experience.

I rank it as my 2nd favourite science lesson of all time.

My most favourite science lesson of all time was during year eight. It was with a teacher whose name I cannot remember (and I feel bad for that, I really do.)

I had hated the class I was in because it had that group of bitchy girls in. The ones who thought they were hard. I'm sure you know who I mean. The ones who are only hard because they're like a herd of cows or a pack of dogs - get one on its own and you'd easily take it down. I knew that, they knew that, but that didn't make any difference.

These girls were really poor examples of the female species and I can remember one lesson with this specific teacher in. The teacher had left the room for five minutes and these girls started daring each other to down shots of the iodine that we were using as part of an experiment.

It was great to be in the same class as such shining examples of intelligence...

Anyway, my favourite lesson with this particular science teacher involved us learning how to make electronic circuits. It is my favourite because it's when my interest in science really ignited. My circuits were so much better and complex that everybody elses. I rocked everybody else right out of the window and into the pond. My inner science geek was in her element. It was the moment that I realised that science was interesting and that by doing certain things I could cause a reaction.

It was a glorious feeling because I was always the quiet one who nobody took any notice of. They were too busy messing around to care that they were disrupting the lessons. I showed them all up.

I probably got mocked for it behind my back but hey, I was in the special class, there was nothing you could have said to me at that point that would have lowered my self esteem any lower ;)

I loved science at school, I really did. I sometimes wish I could go back and redo it all just so that I could go deeper into the stuff I learnt about without the hassle of being a teenage reject getting in the way. It would be an awesome experience.

If there is one piece of advice I can ever pass onto anybody who is younger than me it would be don't do drugs, and listen in science class.

So, what was your favourite science lesson of all time? Let me know in a comment, I'm curious.

3 comments:

  1. Not so much a lesson, as a field trip. Our geology teacher took us to the area around Castleton, and took us through the whole paleoenvironment, from the rocks formed by a deep sea, to those of a tropical lagoon, to those of a volcanic area, showing us (& letting us find) the evidence of same in the rock.

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  2. Lovely post - really enjoying the blog so far.

    My favourite lesson (because I'm a bit of a sadist) was my first ever Chemistry lesson. It was a lesson right at the end of our second year - up until that point we had studied science as a single subject, and the idea was to give us a taster for what was to come in the third year.

    The teacher (Mr Shire) did a simple demonstration experiment with us all gathered round the front of the class, theatre style. Although I can't remember exactly what the experiment was, I do recall it involved boiling water and sulphuric acid. Mr Shire explained that although sulphuric acid was dangerous, the experiment was perfectly safe.

    He then looked on open-mouthed as something went wrong, and sulphuric acid shot up into the air and onto the front row of children. One girl had to take her tights off as it was eating through them, and several others had to run to the cold taps dotted around the room and rinse off the acid. One guy had some on his temple, so Mr Shire had to turn him upside down and rinse the water away from his eye.

    There were no repercussions, as far as I remember, but it goes down as my most memorable lesson by some way which probably says a lot. Like you, Hayley, I didn't 'get' science until a long time after I left school, and it's one of my greatest two regrets in life.

    The other is not moving to Australia when I had the chance, but that's another story...

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