Any good teacher has chemistry with their students – so it’s perhaps no surprise that Alasdair Hey’s passion for science has been recognised with a Fellowship from a leading scientific organisation.
Mr Hey, a teacher of Science and Aviation Studies at The Armidale School, has been made a Fellow of The Royal Australian Chemical Institute, acknowledging nearly three decades in education as a teacher, author, HSC marker and exam writer and mentor.
Since 2000 he had been the state coordinator of the RACI NSW Schools Titration Competition which each year now involves more than 1300 senior chemistry students from more than 100 schools, at 20 university and school campuses across the state. He wrote and is now teaching an electives course, Working Scientifically, that seeks to engage teenage students and encourage a love of chemistry by using programmable Arduino modules for the analysis and control of chemical experiments.
“I loved Chemistry at school; in my final years we had a first year teacher who entered us into the NSW Titration Competition and it was so much fun. The competition is one of the few ways students can compete in a non-exam style setting; it’s essentially being tested on an experiment.”
A former nominee for NSW Scientist of the Year (Leadership in Teaching Science), he also has a private pilots licence and is putting that to use teaching aviation theory at TAS as an elective, in addition to Science. Already one student has achieved his private pilots licence and another his recreational pilots licence and completed two exams for his commercial licence.
“The TAS course teaches elementary systems in an aircraft and uses a flight simulator for effects of controls, navigation tasks and also covers other aspects of the CASA syllabus. It’s wonderful the way some students who are not high achievers in some academic subjects have taken to it with such success.”