Friday, August 29, 2008

Mosunday(TM pending)

So every week, around Thursday, they put out the packets for the following week. Well this classmate and I were staring at the papers and wondering where Monday's handout was. We were looking all through them and then she suddenly exclaimed "oh yeah, we don't have school on Monday." To me, though, there is no 'Monday' as people call it, only Mosundays(TM pending), a horrible fused Monday and Sunday. Work with me here. Every morning I wake up, it feels like a Monday. I know there is a full day of work and worse yet, there are 4 more days of work. Then at about 12pm, something changes about the day. It turns into that early Sunday evening feeling when you know that you still have 5 days ahead of you. Your stomach starts to knot and you get instantly sad that the 'weekend' is over. I don't feel like "oh, phew, Monday is almost over." No, I feel like, "Awww crap, tomorrow IS Monday." Then it repeats every day.  Dang you Mosunday!! (TM pending)

This week was filled with two labs (micro and clinical skills). Learned about range of motion and gram stains. Lecture was pharmacology and immunology heavy. I just about fell out of my chair when the immunology 'professor' told us it was his last lecture of the section. Instead of 'professor' I think his name should be 'reader of many confusing power points'. He has yet to teach me something. 3 more immunology-less weeks. Pharmacology is interesting. There is a lot more behind drugs and dosing than I thought. We haven't started to learn the drugs yet, and I am sure it will be difficult at first. I am getting sick of the microbiology lectures. I am not happy with the amount of bacteria, parasites, and fungi that we have to 'memorize'. I use 'memorize' loosely because at this point I feel like it goes in one ear and out the other. I know I will not fully memorize a lot of things until I start to use it in a clinical setting or with a system. That is just how I work. You can tell me that IL-1 is a pro-inflammitory cytokine, but unless you show me in a setting, I will not learn it. (I looked that up)

I am looking forward to musculoskeletal, which is 3 weeks away. I know it will be more challenging, but I also know that it will not seem so scattered. I have begun to get frustrated with some things and procedures. I want to keep a positive attitude, but there are some things I do not agree with so far. The biggest is the immunology professor. 

Did you ever wonder how elementary teachers have to go through all sorts of training and schooling to learn how to teach, but as soon as someone gets their PhD, they are all of a sudden experts on teaching? Why? I am not saying that there are not good teachers that have a PhD, but I am saying that I feel that if I am paying for an education, I would like the person standing up in front of me to know teaching styles and how to cater to each student, etc. ANYONE can read a powerpoint that was copied and pasted out of some book.  NOT everyone can teach.  I know this is medical school and we are grown ups, but I would like more bang for my buck in certain subjects. We shouldn't be walking out of a lecture more confused than ever. And I am sure I am not the only one who feels that way (some people are talking about getting a petition going). His first language is not English, so he doesn't even form complete sentences. Last I checked, I am not at a foreign medical school.  Maybe I should just pay part of the tuition and when they ask me where the rest is I will tell them they will get it as soon as I start being taught immunology by someone other than myself.

I learned in football that if you do not do your job, you do not play. That doesn't mean that the coach doesn't like you as a person, he just doesn't like the way you play. Plain and simple. Either you produce results or you watch someone else who can. The same rule should apply to education, especially if it is paid for. If other professors have to post handouts from when they taught your subject because you are confusing students, it is time to go. There are other things you can do with the PhD and M.D. combo.  You have had two years to prove yourself.


  1. Happy Mosunday(PM pending)! And I applaud your views on teaching. Your grandfather, an extraordinary writer, journalist, and award-winning professor is dancing on the desks of heaven right now! Yep, he did dance on a desk and then asked his students to write about what they saw. At any rate, you also mentioned coaching, another form of teaching, and an equally noble profession. The concept of both is an interweaving of mentoring and generosity of spirit. Depth of knowledge does not extrapolate to effective teaching, as, without, wisdom, knowledge is an empty gong resonating in a static-filled miasma (mixed metaphor learned from a terrific teacher somewhere!) As you said, all students learn differently, as many studies now illustrate, and it sounds as if your PowerPoint Pedantic has no desire to learn this himself. Perhaps he could sit through one of his OWN lectures and then you all could test HIM! How wonderful that you don't have any more of his "lectures" to sit through. Maybe you can start creating mental stepping stones on your degree path and label this one "Beyond Frustration."

  2. Well said! As an educator I understand the importance of teaching for students, not to students. There's a fundamental difference between the two approaches. For some reason people fall under the assumption that as we get older it is much easier for us to learn by the "stand and deliver" method of teaching. I think all professors should be required to receive some form of training on teaching methodology. I can say orange but what comes to your mind is far different then if I were to hand you an orange. PowerPoints are a great organizational resource, beyond that they are simply glorified slide shows. Knowing your passion and desire you without a doubt have and will continue to find ways to improve your learning. You have too much at stake (referenced from your latest blog) and your passion and determination alone gives me great confidence that you will be nothing less then a great and effective doctor. Carry on. If teaching were simply photocopying enough handouts for all your students and reading from a slide and occasionally directing the attention of your students to some interesting photograph via laser pen then the value of my life's work would diminish severly. Thank you for recognizing what quality instruction looks like and how quality teachers teach like.