For 24 hours this weekend, I went on an organizational purge. I cleaned out closets, file cabinets, bookcases, shredded like a maniac, recycled and donated whatever I could. During my elimination bender, I came across some old papers from grad school. I have been slowly but surely disposing of my grad school and PT school papers and books over the years, realizing that I have become so “experienced” (read…OLD!), and my school stuff has now become anywhere from 15-20 years out dated. There are most likely better resources out there for me now when I need to look something up. However, sometimes I run across something that is a bit sentimental, something I created (the projector slides from my thesis defense that I just can’t bring myself to throw away) or something I wrote that I want to hang on to. It is amazing to be able to look back at your thought process, your dreams, your opinions at the time, and see if they still match up the current you or if they evolved in a way you did or did not expect them to. This trip through my stored life did not disappoint.
I came across a paper I wrote in 1999 for a teaching practicum I did at the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill (GO HEELS!). I had thought maybe at one point, I would want to become a professor. Although that path never took shape, I have taught quite a bit in other venues and forms. Reading back at my thoughts from 15 years ago brought a huge smile across my face. I wanted to share some of those thoughts with you now.
In parts, from “1999 Sue”…….
“During the past semester I have been given the opportunity to teach. I have been able to endure first hand the difficulty of preparing a lecture, the nervousness of being in front of a class, and the feeling of accomplishment when a student truly understands the concept you were trying to explain. As a student, I took for granted the time and energy a professor took to prepare a class so that I could have a better learning experience. It seemed as though class took place without much effort by the teacher. Little did I know the appearance of ease was actually a well-developed skill.”
“I must give the student the resources and skills to facilitate the process of critical thinking, allowing them to make their own clinical decisions.”
“I would like to teach most concepts in an open discussion format. Lecture is necessary, but I feel as though active participation by the learner is necessary in order to fully grasp the material. If I can facilitate the learning process, rather than giving my students the answers, they will retain more information and hopefully become eager to learn more. I also want to directly apply classroom learning to the clinic. Learners must be able to see a direct relationship to information given and patient care provided. “
“I would like students to identify the evaluation process as just that- a process. At times students and teachers break the evaluation and treatment into sections and it is therefore difficult for the student to view the process as a continuum. I want students to realize the assessment of a patient’s dysfunction is directly related to the examination that is performed, and the interventions chosen are directly related to the patient’s dysfunction. “
“A simple reiteration of the textbook is not sufficient.”
“I plan on motivating students via my own excitement and passion for the profession”
“The great thing about teaching is that learning takes place on both ends. I have learned so much this past semester from my experiences teaching in the classroom.”
“I have realized class doesn’t always go as planned. I learned that teachers don’t know it all and shouldn’t act as though they do”
“The learner deserves honesty, openness and dedication from the teacher. “
“I realize I am a new teacher and accept that I will make mistakes. I hope to learn from these mistakes and grow: clinically, professionally and personally.
Wow. Fifteen years later I agree with, believe, or strive for every single one of those things when I am in a position of “teacher”.
You are only as good as the people you surround yourself with. I have been blessed to be around some amazing people. I am so grateful for all of those opportunities and those that lie ahead. I am so grateful that at one time or another you have allowed me to be in a position of teacher, and so grateful for the things you have taught me. If we have ever interacted, I can promise you, you have taught me something.
Sensei. Guru. Lama. Sifu. Shifu. Teacher. Those are powerful words! It is a hat we all wear at one time or another. Whether you are in front of a class, teaching in your facility, or teaching your kids at home, we are all teachers. Daily. Just like we are all students. Daily.
I feel as though I have lived up to 1999 Sue’s expectations, and I hope you all feel the same. The journey is nowhere near being over. I will continue to strive for the above as I continue learn and I am afforded opportunities to share my gained knowledge and experiences with all of you.