Five misconceptions about science teachers:
1) We all have Nobel Prizes sitting on our mantelpieces.
The public conception of science teachers is that we must all be incredibly clever, and have dedicated our lives to study. We are expected to know about every field of science, and every new development. If we do not have our own Giant Hadron Collider in an underground bunker in our garden, people feel that we have let the side down. When we offer to demonstrate a rocket launch, people expect ‘Mission Control’, hydrogen rocket fuel and a final countdown, not some little stomp rocket from Toys R Us.
2) We all worship Albert Einstein.
Yes, he was very clever. Yes, he looks how scientists are supposed to look (in films and on TV). No, we are not all old men with dodgy hair, questionable hygiene habits and a thing for young women. In fact, many modern scientists are women, and have a huge range of differing fields of study within science. We also are not all acquainted with Stephen Hawking, Neil de Grasse Tyson or Bill Nye the Science Guy. (But how great would it be to be on their Christmas Card list).
3) We are all nerds.
The study of science alone is not enough to make us nerds. We would also need to watch Dr. Who, Star Trek, Star Wars and have a working knowledge of fantasy fiction. We would have to possess items of fan memorabilia such as T shirts, mugs, key rings and plastic models of Klingons. We would have to have an intricate knowledge of fan trivia, and attend fan conventions. The fact that most of us do is NOT down to studying science. Mathematicians can be nerds too!!
4) We all think other subjects are inferior or a waste of time.
This is most definitely not true. Information Technology is very valuable. It helps us analyse results far quicker. Latin helps us speak a universal science language. Being bilingual makes it easier to apply to the EU for funding when we want to further our study. P.E is useful as it allows us to offer analogies when explaining physics concepts. ‘The space rocket is streamlined and cuts through the atmosphere in much the same way as a well-thrown javelin’. The fact is, all other subjects are a useful subsidiary to Science, so definitely not a waste of time.
5) We all play with chemicals whenever we can.
Breaking Bad gave all science teachers a kind of kudos that we have not had since the 1960s. People believed that we possess the knowledge to cook high quality crystal meth. If we had all the ingredients, we could be drug lords and live on the wrong side of the law. Our scientific integrity would force us to make only top quality stuff. Even if we choose not to join the dark side, we could still dabble and knock up some low grade explosives to make Bonfire Night more interesting. The fact that most science teachers seldom touch a test tube these days, and are just as likely to use a computer simulation as an actual experiment does not yet seem to have permeated the public psyche.