The journey so far – Part 1

The story of these past few years has been an interesting one.  This last year in particular has certainly been unpredictable, filled with lots of changes and exciting new directions.

To give you a brief history of things, I studied a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Applied Chemistry – Forensic Science at UTS, and finished up at the end of 2007.  From there I plunged into the forensics field, working as a forensic document examiner for almost 2 years – looking at forgeries, counterfeiting, handwriting, signatures and more.  But, as has been the case for many others all over the world, the GFC hit and I was made redundant.  Suddenly I was having to make some pretty big decisions about what to do with my life – do I try again in forensics, do I go back to uni, or do I do something radical and completely change careers?

In the last few months before I finished up, I was fortunate enough to be given work as a lab demonstrator at UTS (a job I had enjoyed for the last 18 months of my degree) to fill in the gaps and help pay the bills.  The funny thing was that, in amongst all the upheaval and uncertainty, I realised that I actually enjoyed teaching far more than I ever did forensic science.  If you forgive the cliche, it felt a little like my destiny, as both my parents have been life-long teachers and my wife is a preschool teacher, not to mention numerous other relatives who have made teaching their career at one point or another.  It felt like I had been subconsciously fighting it, but yet things managed to come around full circle after all.  I know that I shouldn’t be surprised by now, but it just goes to show how God’s plans win out in the end!

So after realising that teaching was where my heart really lay, I had to look at ways to make it a career and not just a stopgap.  As good as being a lab demonstrator is, I couldn’t really imagine myself being there in 10 years time without something else alongside it, so I started to consider being a high school science teacher – something I always used to quickly dismiss.  It took me awhile to come around to the idea that yes, high school teaching could be just as rewarding as university teaching and I would (theoretically) have a greater level of choice over what I would teach and how I would teach it.  That and the fact that first year uni students are not that far removed from their high school counterparts!  But because of the way that the Australian education system works, without any further training I would get nowhere.  We’ll leave the rest of this story for another day!

CK

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2 responses to “The journey so far – Part 1

  1. I went from teaching college chemistry lab to high school as well. Maturity-wise, there’s not too much of a difference between first year college students and high schoolers, but it was still a very big change. What year do high schoolers take chemistry?

  2. It’s an elective subject in Years 11 and 12 (along with Biology, Physics and Earth and Environmental Science), but science as a more general subject is mandatory from Years 7 to 10. In the Australian system (in NSW where I live) you have to be able to teach science across the board to a certain extent – depends on the school as to exactly what needs to be taught. So I could potentially go all the way from 7-12 all at once!

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