When it comes to teaching practice, sharing is caring
After a chance meeting at a Teach First event, Jonny Hurn and three others set up the Science in Practice network.
They’re now providing science teachers across the UK with the resources and support they need to crack on and teach
After three years teaching, I joined a new school – Bolder Academy. It's a really exciting time, as we’re basically generating everything from scratch. It’s like working at a start-up company, in that your role’s so expansive and flexible. You could be doing anything day-to-day.
Supporting science teachers to teach
This year I started the Science in Practice Network with three teachers I met at a Teach First event. We all felt there was a real lack of good resources for teachers – especially in science, where you've got three disciplines and nobody’s a specialist in all of them. It’s such a broad subject.
Our aim is to make sure every science teacher feels supported and has access to everything they need. We mainly do that by collating all the research then turning it into a quick and easy format for teachers to go and implement in the classroom. It gives them more time to focus on the students, instead of making lots of fancy bits n bobs.
An explosion of interest in the Science in Practice Network
We started the network by putting the feelers out through the Teach First community, and running a few webinars. All of a sudden, we've got 2,000 followers and have just put on a conference for 500 people. That's mostly down to the support Teach First has provided in setting up a network, including advising on the technical aspects like how to run a webinar.
We've also been able to use their Twitter account, and through that we've connected with teachers who have helped promote us in their schools. There's a trusted quality aspect to having the Teach First name behind us. It means people are more likely to come to our events, and it helps us get fantastic speakers. The conference is this Saturday, and I still get imposter syndrome, but I'm sure it's going to be ok on the day!
We also run a book club, and coffee chats with people who are new to teaching, where we talk through anything they're worried about. And we're speaking at a number of events. It's all about building a community of science teachers who can collaborate and share ideas.
Opening up science to everyone
The impact will be students doing better. It links in to so many important issues in science, like the lack of females and students from disadvantaged backgrounds doing science degrees.
We're also aware that we're four white teachers. Teach First are helping us reach out to groups, to make sure we're an inclusive, diverse community. And they're helping us apply for financial support to purchase equipment for the podcast we want to start up.
The importance of sharing ideas
I think it's so important to be open and share ideas with the wider community. Sometimes there's this feeling of 'Oh don't look at my PowerPoint, it's rubbish'. But we've found that people are willing to share when given a platform.
There's no way any single one of us has all the best ideas. So sharing makes us all better.
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