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.