Science Faculty Co-ordinator Teresa Barlow went to a convent school where girls would get the cane and have to pray for forgiveness if they were boastful – so it’s easy to understand why she doesn’t like to talk about herself.
Talking about science is something else altogether.
What is your teaching philosophy?
As a science and biology teacher, my philosophy is to teach through experiments – either in the classroom or in the field. I make sure my experiments are all exciting. Students love dissecting pig trotters, flame tests, osmosis in potatoes – and anything with the Bunsen burner.
What makes science a great subject?
Science is relevant in all aspects of life. It stimulates curiosity and interest, helps explain events from the distant past and it informs our futures.
What are the some of the qualities of an effective science teacher?
Enthusiasm and attention to detail. A sense of humour helps, and being from the North of England seems to have its benefits as well!
I became a teacher by accident. I did a triple degree, with the third option being education. Teaching was the first job I got and I like to see things through. I also think being a rock star or a submarine driver were out as career options.
What do you enjoy about teaching at ACG Sunderland?
We are a very strong family and community. Students thrive in this environment. Being in a small school means we know all the pupils by name.
What has been a highlight of your teaching career?
My career’s not over yet so the highlight may yet come, but feedback from students and parents makes the job worthwhile. For example, a student told me recently, ‘this is the best thing I have done all year’. Or when a parent tells me, ‘my child loves science, they love your lessons.’
What do you consider an achievement in your career?
Achievement? I survived some hard knock schools! I like to think I’ve made some difference or bought some interest into certain student’s lives, and I hope I haven’t done too much damage in the process.
What wouldn’t we know about you?
I had my DNA profiled recently. I am only 1.1% Neanderthal, but 66% Celt (hence the red hair and temperament).
Ms Barlow is Science Faculty Co-ordinator, and teaches Years 7, 8 and 9 science and Years 11, 12 and 13 biology.