What are the rules regarding teachers helping themselves to chemicals in your prep room?

Gadget

New, Lone & supporting KS3-GCSE all 3 subjects.
How would you deal with teachers helping themselves to chemicals in your prep room and practicing practicals when you are not there?

Is this acceptable?
 
If they are fully trained and have risk-assessed the lessons properly, then I would (just about) trust them. If not it really is waiting for an accident to happen and they shouldn't be doing it. Apart from anything else they may leave you at risk when you walk into the Prep Room and get hit by the fumes!
 

CovTech

Lvl 37 Alchemist
COMMITTEE
HSE have a document called Secure Your Chemicals
It details how the minimum personnel should have access to the chemicals

CLEAPSS also says how teachers should never help themselves and lists a few anecdotes of that behaviour going drastically wrong

Use those to get the locks changed so they're unable to help themselves
 
They may be trained in the lab, but they certainly won't be in the prep room.

We deal with it by having everything except chemicals such as salt and sugar under lock, key and threat of violence. Fortunately, people here understand enough not to wander into my area for anything more hazardous than a stapler.

I'm still a bit iffy leaving salt at risk from teachers' hands...
 

Irene

Irene
I don't let any teachers touch the chemicals, only under my supervision. They are locked away under lock and key. Give them and inch, they take a mile. And who's fault would it be if they helped themselves and there was an accident.
 
I agree with the points above about chemicals - they shouldn't have access to the stock chemcials at all on legal health and safety grounds.

On practicing practicals, if they need to practice because they aren't sure, they should be supervised when doing so. If I know and trust that another teacher is familiar with the practical (including any potential risks) then I would be fine for the two of them to go through it without me (as long as they risk assess the practice). If they want to practice something with consumables then I would at least want them to ask first, otherwise I could be re-prepping a practical in a rush because I didn't know it had been used, and that could be dangerous.
 
We have a separate prep room/store for chemicals which no teacher has access to. As for practicing experiments, as long as they let me know what they want and clear up after themselves, I'm ok with it. They very often practice after school and I'm out of here at 4.
 

Gadget

New, Lone & supporting KS3-GCSE all 3 subjects.
All teachers have access to chem store as its the same key that can open all classrooms.

I also have a teacher who used to be a tech and feels they can help themselves.
 
Our teachers are pretty well trained to be fair. When they first start we always ask them not to take anything from the prep room without asking and they're really good at following that. We also say that we're happy for them to practice practicals, but that must be arranged with us so that we can make sure someone is around to support them. Again we've not had any issues with that.
 
All teachers have access to chem store as its the same key that can open all classrooms.

I also have a teacher who used to be a tech and feels they can help themselves.
Ask to get the lock changed to the chemical store, I had to do that at the start of the year.

The teacher who used to be a tech should understand how annoying it is when thigs get moved/used up/dirty without warning, even if they probably are more on top of the safety side!
 
Ask to get the lock changed to the chemical store, I had to do that at the start of the year.

The teacher who used to be a tech should understand how annoying it is when thigs get moved/used up/dirty without warning, even if they probably are more on top of the safety side!
Agree. at my last place i harassed them until I got a separate lock for the chem store to be told "dont you trust the teachers?" my response "no I dont trust them as they come and help themselves especially ones who used to be a tech (???!!) and the chem teachers cos they think they can just come in and take chemicals to be able to do 'whiz bang' stuff. No. I want a different lock!" eventually got one.
dont be afraid to say no firmly as otherwise the teachers will walk all over you and do what they please.
Good luck getting through to 'em.
Absolute no no no if they dont tell you what they want to do - its hard enough being new to the job, without having this kind of thing thrown at you (but its a learning curve). :)
 

karen b

COMMITTEE
Our teachers are pretty well trained to be fair. When they first start we always ask them not to take anything from the prep room without asking and they're really good at following that. We also say that we're happy for them to practice practicals, but that must be arranged with us so that we can make sure someone is around to support them. Again we've not had any issues with that.

Same here. Very occasionally a last minute idea comes to a chemistry teacher. If we have things in stock then we will let them help themselves, but they wouldn’t do this without checking
 

STEMTech

Dave
Our chemical store is locked, so bulk stuff is not accessible by teachers. I have no problem with chemists coming in to the prep room and taking small bottles of whatever, as long as it's not the last bottle! It doesn't happen often. Non-chemists generally ask a technician and don't go searching for things.
 
It's very rare they'll take anything from the prep room.

During lockdown they did take stuff from the prepared trays to film some demos - but did ask first.

I think only the lead Chemist has a key to the chemical stores, but only takes the ones to look at.
 
I don't deal with chemicals much in Physics but this situation would bother me on two fronts:
Keeping track of where things are and keeping track of stock levels, regardless of whether the teachers are safe or trustworthy.
 
Mine don't as a rule. They may grab a container of e.g. copper sulphate to show the difference between the hydrated and anhydrous but nothing more than that.
 
Are you fed up with teachers taking your chemicals? Here is a very simple and fun step-by-step guide to stop such a habit:

1) Replace colourless solutions with a dud (water) at the front of the pile and label as if it were that chemical. Use food colouring accordingly for coloured solutions.

2) Inform your fellow technicians that the bottles at the front are duds. Use a symbol so that you can keep track of which are false.

3) Learn how to act convincingly confused when the teacher returns the bottle saying it didn't work

4) Make sure to point out to the teacher that they must be doing something wrong

5) Grab the dud bottle from them and say you will provide another one. Go to the chemical store, grab the correct bottle, walk back to the teacher saying "actually just had a thought, I just want to try it myself before replacing it". Remember they think you still have the dud when in fact you picked up the real one in the chem store.

6) Show them it does indeed work and feel free to humiliate as necessary

7) Laugh

8) Repeat step 1-7 until teacher stops coming to grab chemicals.
 
Its not good practice to have an open door policy with the chemicals even if they are trained. It just creates issues, its the techs role to keep track of the chemicals. Additionally the prep room isn't a typical storage room. The equipment stored in them are not a shared resource like pens and paper but a controlled one (even the very harmless ones like salt). We are very firm in using the word "request", we tell our teachers that risk assessments are their to protect everyone including the tech's. We don't hand-out chemicals just for asking, you have to demonstrate how you plan to use them in the form of methods and risk assessments. Paper trails protect us when the worse happens, its not an accusation it's insurance. You never know when even a well behaved student wants to have a silly moment and cause an accident.

This is what we aim to have, what we manage is different :laughing: . Our teachers are mostly good they rarely take without asking and normally inform us when they do as soon as they see us. Even when they put it back
 
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