Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Lab Teacher

The teacher for my Anatomy and Physiology class is young. He and his wife are far from their home, the parents of newborn twins. He got this job two weeks before class started. That's a lot of changes for him. Because I have kids his age, it bothers me. He is not a confident teacher, and the thing is, he's horribly unprepared for class. He makes mistakes. He doesn't know things. He tends to hand out work sheets and let us find our own way. He gives us a list of terms and we study the bones until we figure it out.

The problem is that knowing where the superior articular process on a vertebrae means nothing at all until you see how the inferior articular process fits against that. And how the atlas swivels about on the dens of the axis. Until you see the pieces working together, you don't really understand the purpose, how cleverly designed it all is, how the head of the rib fits into the costal facets, and and how the clavicle fits against the scapula at the shoulder. It's fascinating how we are assembled and simply looking at a bone means nothing until you see how it goes together, and suddenly it begins to make sense. You find that you know where to look for the bone markings. It makes things go much more quickly when you see how it goes together, and at the pace of this summer semester, we really do not have time to 'dumb around' in the wilderness, fumbling to make it all make sense. The teacher is the key. Our lecture teacher gave us a quick class and, in the hands of a skilled teacher, we learned more in that hour then we did in the previous three. That's the truth of it plainly stated.

However, I cannot help but feel sorry for the teacher. This is a hard class. Darn hard. He's overwhelmed at home and has begun a new job as well. He probably has not got unlimited amounts of time to devote to preparing a lesson plan from scratch. I don't know. I'm doing okay in the class, but I hear others complaining bitterly about the teacher. But I have heard the self same students say, "Oh, I don't have time to study tonight," or "Yeah, I didn't understand that so I skipped it," or "What's the point?" What it sounds like to me is that they are pretty anxious to blame EVERYTHING on the teacher. I see it like this: His methods aren't working, but I still have to pass this class. I have to work harder to 'get it', but I'm doing okay. Not spectacularly. But I'm 'getting it'. Sitting on my ischium and bitching about the teacher isn't going to get me where I want to be.

Only 21 more days, and I can read my book.


Ash said...

I'm sure your teachers have prescribed this but having a good atlas like Netter's propped beside your textbook makes studying Anatomy much easier and pleasurable (Netter's diagrams are hand drawn and truly amazing).

Chez said...

Oh Debby do you really need another challenge at this time? Definitely not!
You will find a way to work smarter and it will all come together for you. And. Sooner rather than later.

Debby said...

Quick answer, Chez? NO! NO! A thousand times NO! It is, however, what it is.

Debby said...

Ack! Sorry Ash! I meant to say that Netter's has not be prescribed by the teachers at all, however my sister showed up with an armload of books, and bless her heart, there is a Netter's and a computer disk that goes with it. I spent a great deal of time last night using PAL, which is a also a computer program, and I have worked my little hinder off going over the skeletal slides again and again. This program allows you to click on a bone and revolve was very helpful in studying the bones of the skull. You can click on a bone and it shows the name, and if you need pronunciation assistance you can double click and it says the word. I took a quiz and got 100% at the end (after doing the identification slides (38 of 'em) all the way through three times). A great confidence booster, if nothing more.

I'm going to take those three things in and see if the teacher wants to burn off disks. I think it would be very helpful to him.

Ash said...

Debby, I am glad that your sister got Netter's for you and PAL seems really cool too.. Wish I'd known about it when I had to study Anatomy..

steviewren said...

The summer biology class and lab were the hardest classes I took when I was in school. Our teacher didn't teach. He projected the section titles on the overhead projector and asked if we had questions. That was the extent of his instruction.

We covered the whole book. The next semester when I took Bio II I discovered we were using the same text...we were only supposed to cover the first half in Bio I.

I made D's on every test and counted myself lucky. The only reason I pulled it off was because he told us the final would be taken from those earlier tests. I found the right answer for every question and memorized it all.

Later, my daughter got the same guy for another class. As soon as I heard I told her to go straight to school and drop that class. He had no intention of passing anyone if he could help it.

Bob Barbanes said...

What a different perspective you have from the young college kids. They probably don't even realize that the teacher is so weak. You see it, because we adults see stuff like that. You even see possible solutions for it that the younger kids cannot fathom. This is why college is easier for you than for them. You won't believe this though. You struggle with certain things, but the youngsters struggle with completely different things - and they have the added "bonus" of trying to grow up at the same time. Their learning curve of life is much steeper than yours. As adults, we've already learned the "shortcuts" that can get us through to the meaty stuff.

Your stories make me want to go to college. At this old(er) age I really wonder how I'd do? I think I'd do pretty well, in fact. But I'd probably be telling the teachers that they're full of crap - especially if they're younger than me. I'd probably be like Rodney Dangerfield blowing up at Sam Kinison in "Back To School." All the time.

Great stories, Deb. Hang in there. You're going to do fine.