Slime and Now Teach

The answer to the questions:
1. Where has all the damn toothpaste gone, and;
2. Why does EVERYTHING in the fridge smell like peppermint?

If you have kids over the age 9 who are NOT obsessed with slime, I’d like to know about it. For the past few months, I’ve learned enough about slime-making (and OH, THE INHERENT CHALLENGES) to last several lifetimes. I guess it’s not hard to imagine what it is about slime that is so fascinating to children. It’s gooey, colourful, malleable, squelchy and fun.

You know you’re in for the long haul when your kid tells you, with an air of oh-didn’t-you-know-Mum? superiority, that slime-making has Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) therapeutic benefits.

Well, ooookay, then.

Here’s a good example of ASMR slime. And here’s a great intro to slime making.

After many months of experimentation, including maintaining a lab log book, Dubs has created some kind of slime which is both seemingly solid and liquid (more so than usual) and is the source of much oohing and ahhing from her classmates. I told her this is chemistry. She wrinkled her nose at the very idea (how uncool!) and literally in the same breath proceeded to explain to me the chemicals in clay face masks that are essential for her new slime. Science, my girl. It’ll out in the end!

log book
Mercer provided Dubs with a log book for science experiments, including slime.


In other news, I thought this was a really interesting article about a program that re-trains older adults who feel somewhat unfilled in their jobs, to become teachers. It’s quite an entertaining read.

Some of the sacrifices are more idiosyncratic. Every June for a decade, Howard Smith, a former derivatives trader, went on a pilgrimage to Las Vegas to play in the World Series of Poker. This year he came second and left with winnings of about £100,000; next year he won’t be able to go at all – he’ll be teaching probability to 14-year-olds instead.

Lucy Kellaway is a journalist who, with a friend, set up an organisation called Now Teach. What a fabulous idea. The good response they received is indicative that many people genuinely want that professional sea change.

It all started last autumn when Katie Waldegrave, a social entrepreneur, and I set up Now Teach. We were sure there were lots of 50-somethings who wanted to teach, but no one was seeking them out. Of the 35,000 who started teacher training in the UK last year, almost none of them – a mere 100 – were over 55. Given that teachers, on average, last barely five years in the profession, and given that many driven 50-year-olds will work into their 70s, this makes no sense at all. What is madder still is that the subjects where the teacher shortage is worst – maths, science and languages – are things many of these people are good at.

The benefits of such an endeavour will go both ways, as the children can benefit from meeting industry professionals who have a lifetime of experience practically applying some of the more ambiguous stuff the kids are learning in school. In one of the projects I’m researching, we’re looking to provide industry internships for teachers to actually go out into companies like Dropbox, Ernst & Young, and National Geographic for immersive, professional development experiences, and to bring theirs insight back into their classrooms.


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