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Restless roam for the right environment

2023 May 13 Saturday 12:51

Search for new jobs, new environments, when one is involved in the most honourable of professions, is a depressing experience. It is indicative of how passion for your subject has become secondary to survival.

In an ideal world, part-time teach, part-time industry/research/something else would be enjoyable, but so far such a "gig" has not yet materialised; primary reason personality weaknesses such as a poor social network? A difficulty of the job is the dis-proportionate time it consumes, without much to formulate social networks. Upon self-review the aforementioned rhetorical question seems more and more valid.


A former colleage reminded of the importance to do something enjoyable. So, whilst attempting to do that — as a remedy for current malaise — encountered the following 'circle draw' challenge. Best score achieved, 94.7 %; but repeats suggested it was a fluke. Thanks, Mr Round!

Beyond the curriculum

2023 May 14 Sunday 20:08

To teach gce a chemistry is a frustration sometimes, due to constraints by the national curriculum, status as a "gateway" subject and notable pressure to achieve maximum performance such that students can progress onto university, degree apprenticeships and similar endevours.

During a lesson, a student asked a "random" (i.e. not relevant to the subject matter at the time, but curious) question about ceramics: "what are they, exactly?. A pause, then a realisation that the gcse specification is a distant memory. The chemistry of ceramics materials is a niche discipline with a wide range of applications, yet the aforementioned pressures preclude devotion of much time to discuss. A pity. (The admittedly brief reply included a mention of clay, followed by some vague potential future study of "materials science/engineering").

No care for children from within the fediverse

Recently, encountered an article about age verification in usa being complicated by the lack of federal guidance and subsequent chaotic state-level attempts to control amgaf. Meanwhile, whilst fediverse is ignored by government regulators (and bloggers such as 'Desiderata' (John Carr), there does not seem to be a discussion about minimisation of harmful content. There is "hastag"fediblock, but how effective?

It was warm enough to enjoy the day, finally (in mid May!).

Immigration, the canary in the coalmine

2023 May 26 Friday 16:12

As far as education in uk is concerned, everything is "world-class". Despite the pseudo-president Bliar's platitude "education, education, education", the country remains addicted to lower importation of labour, instead of human capital investment.

Extant exploration of the job market —from a chemist's perspective— suggests that the typical secondary school chemistry curriculum is not relevant to the (local) world...

If a student aspires to some university level engineering, scientific, etc.. discipline, gce a continues to be useful. But what if one does not have such aspiration? Alternatives?

Recent bus adverts (remember, free travel for target demographic!) reminded of a previous blog post about T-levels the ostensibly inadequacy of alternatives to "uni" (including those so-called "degree apprenticeships" (i.e. rare opportunities for middle class children to avoid tuition fees and continue the "who you know" scam of open, equitable employment practices), especially for those that may seek employment after 18 years age). The science content of the non-medical 'science pathway', looks sadly low in chemistry knowledge; for London at least, symptomatic of the decline in the value of such knowledge to the economy. Further evidence of this assertion is the paucity of providers in the capital; fewer than ten for (again, focus is upon the non-medical options).

These observations lead to the conclusion that despite the hype, there isn't a shortage of stem students, careers, jobs, etc.., but rather an education system that is too slow to adapt. For example, gcse sciences subject state a need to assess practical skills such as use of equipment (i.e. glassware, although polymer burettes have become common) for simple manual tasks such as evaporation, filtration, distillation, etc.. However, how many jobs demand such skills? There is relentless evolution towards automation within industry, yet school level sciences subject matter makes almost no reference to necessary computer skills within the chemistry context (e.g. sensors data collection, instrumentation configuration, etc.).

We baby sit until children reach maturity, parents pay taxes, next generation struggle to adapt will incomplete knowledge of the world, business recruits older "system-ready" from elsewhere in the world as cheaply as possible. A scam in short-termism.