Mr Herbert, the head of science with a 29-year teaching career under his belt, is one of four finalists in the Secondary Teacher of the Year category while Mr Cornish, in his second year as a teacher, is one of four finalists in the Beginning Teacher category.
Testament to their successful working relationship, together the men led a Year 9 team to second place in the WA Science and Engineering Challenge at Curtin University last month and after competing at a national level, the same team placed fourth in Australia.
‘Much of the work in the Science department at Applecross is encouraging learning through fun,’ Mr Herbert said.
‘When you have been teaching a while you fall into certain routines and patterns in the way that you work.
‘Sharing an office with a recent graduate like Mark has been great. It affords me the opportunity to capture his energy and his willingness to try all sorts of new and innovative ideas.’
Mr Cornish, a former travelling show presenter for SciTech Outreach and a science education and media employee with ABC TVs Catalyst and the Australian Science Media Centre, says he was always destined to smash the stereotype that science is fixed and formulaic.
‘I’ve written, played and sung guitar songs about sub atomic particles and pleaded that my student sing along,’ he said.
‘I recently filmed myself driving over my old Nokia to present the idea of force, area and pressure.
‘I have written poetry on the greenhouse gas effect and we’ve made podcasts about energy changes in chemical reactions.
‘I’m committed to being a lifelong learner, and that’s what drives me to work every day.’
Winners will be announced at a special breakfast at Crown Casino on December 2.