John McGlashan College science teacher Andrew Innes uses a
water monitoring device in one of the last experiments of
his teaching career. Photo by Linda Robertson.
For 41 years, the message from Andrew Innes to his pupils
has remained the same - take an interest in things, be prepared
to get your hands dirty, and learn to work hard.
''There won't be another opportunity to do this for free.
''The kids who do best are those who are prepared to take a
risk and get their hands dirty.''
The 65-year-old John McGlashan College science teacher said
it was a message that had come directly from his own
experiences in life.
''As a young person, education was wasted on me. I could have
had a more grown-up approach to school.
''It was only when I started teaching that I realised that I
had a deeper appreciation of science and scientific
''It's a message that I pass on to my pupils every day.''
Mr Innes began his teaching career in 1972 at Waitaki Boys'
High School after completing a zoology degree and a teaching
Two years later, he moved to Dunedin where he spent five
years at Kaikorai Valley College, then another five years as
head of sciences at Columba College, before heading to John
McGlashan College, where he has spent the past 29 years, much
of it as head of sciences.
Mr Innes said he was now looking forward to retirement at the
end of this year.
He has a busy schedule planned, making up for lost time with
family, doing some tramping and climbing ''while there's
still a bit of gas in the tank'', working in his garden and
continuing some of the science experiments he had established
during his time as a teacher.
During the past eight years, he has established and run the
Healthy Harbour Watchers, a group of secondary school pupils
trying to plug the gap of information available about the
health of the Otago Harbour.
Mr Innes said the group grew out of research he did while on
a Royal Society fellowship in 2005 when he realised there was
no readily accessible information on the quality of the
He planned to continue the project in his retirement, he
''What's in your head keeps you going. While your brain is
working, keep using it.''