Just Pretend


I’ve been doing the teaching assistant gig for four years now and I have a confession. Every time I get up there and lecture I feel like a total fraud. I’m following notes pulled from the book. Some of the info I gathered and some the head T.A. compiled (now former head T.A. as he’s about to graduate and get a REAL job).

Yes, I took the class….eons ago.

I figured out after the first year that it was all about looking the part and acting like you knew exactly what you were doing. I can do that. That’s half of my parenting game plan.

In all honesty I’m not telling the pharmacy students anything beyond what reading the chapter would tell them. At least, that’s what it feels like to me. The comments of a couple of the students make me think that maybe, just maybe I’m not a total fraud.

Student One: You know you’re my favorite TA, right?

<I totally blush.>

Student One: No, really. Every time I leave the class after you teach it I actually get it. You put it in terms I understand. You explain so that I get why the drug works like it does.

Student Two:  Yes! I’ve been in MedChem for almost a year and never really understood what extensive metabolism meant. You explained and now I get it.

We then had a brief discussion on the importance of understanding the whys versus rote memory. While it has its place, I’d rather not trust my pharmacist to simply “remember” that my prescription can have a rather nasty side effect of death under certain conditions. After all, I know lots of stuff, but regularly forget what I went to the store for or the location of my ever-wandering keys, so I know just how porous the memory can be.

So then I thought about it and okay, so no I don’t have every detail memorized. I don’t know MedChem backwards and forwards. I forget all the different possible steps in metabolism. Still, I can read and distill that information, and most importantly understand WHY. I can then convey those very important morsels which can be lost in a sea of complicated information.

I almost feel like I know what I’m doing now….kind of.

 

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4 responses to “Just Pretend

  1. I feel that way all the time! You should look up Imposter Syndrome … someone recently told me about it 🙂

  2. I have been doing “Adult Education’ for 10+ years now and I don’t even have the sheep skin to back me up. I understand the feeling of ‘posing’ as an educator. Teaching truly is about WHAT you know not how much you know. I always have to hit the books and study lesson plans before teaching a class. So do most real teachers. Teaching is more than imparting facts; it’s about imparting knowledge. Relaying information in a way that sparks that last bit of heat to get the student’s own brain to catch fire and make their own leaps into understanding. I still remember seeing the light go on in my first student; a guy who had never been beyond 6th grade math who suddenly “got it” in Algebra! Look for it in your students; you’ll see it and when you do you’ll want more. One of the best drugs EVER!

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