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Thursday, April 23, 2009

RT turned teacher

After you do a job for a while it seems so easy, so second nature. Yet when we have a student we realize how special the skills we have are. We have to slow way down and get right back to the nitty gritty basics.

It's fun in a way, and it's also very educational. It forces you to re-learn some of the elements of the job you forgot and hardly ever use, yet are important in order to develop the skills you now have -- the same skills you hope the student will have one day.

There is another aspect to teaching I think is equally important, and that is making a clone of yourself in the areas you excel, and making sure you do not clone yourself in areas of your weaknesses. That, I must say, is the greatest challenge of teaching.

I suppose this is true of any job, but when you do it a while you develop shortcuts. While shortcuts may be fine for you, they are not fine for teaching. For no other reason than if the student learns the shortcut first, and then later decides to short cut the short cut, the real job is not getting done, and you failed as a teacher.

Likewise, while you are fully competent and confident in your job, and you think anyone could do it with their eyes closed, that is not the case. A new student, even a new RRT who has taken the exam, may see this job as hard and stressful.

For example, when I was in my first conicals, I was nervous as hell. I fumbled with every task to the point my preceptor called my teacher and said she didn't think I'd ever make it as an RT. Well, we all know how things turned out in the end. While honesty with me allowed me to learn the hard way, patients is also a virtue worth having, as everybody grows at a different pace.

I think as I was learning this job about 90% of the people I followed were bad teachers. They just said this is what they wanted me to do and sent me to the wolves. That's fine, but you don't learn that way. You eventually need to be thrown to the wolves, but not when you are first starting out.

I had a non RT job once that taught me the lesson of how important an orientation is, and the importance of a good preceptor/teacher/mentor. Lacking any of these, I failed at my first job as a journalist. I fell flat on my face. In fact, that's why I ended up as an RT, because I failed at that other career.

While I suppose that 90% wouldn't be patient enough to remember the past, I find myself in the 10% -- I think. Perhaps it's easier for me to fall into this percentile because the other thing I wanted to be when I was deciding was a teacher.

Yet, like I wrote before, fate guided me on this path for some reason.

There are certain things that need to be the same way every time. So you teach the student to do it right. Yet, if you teach that everything must be done your way, you put a cork on creativity -- which you don't want to do in any successful business.

So, my point here is that I've decided teaching is a lot harder than one might think. And that's why we must give credit to those who do it every single day of their lives (especially kindergarten teachers).


Jan said...

You are absolutely right. If you have a good teacher you know it. IF YOU HAVE A GREAT TEACHER YOU THANK GOD. There are folks out there who teacher who know their stuff but have no clue how to teach it.

I have late adult onset asthma (I'm 65). Getting a doctor or nurse to show me the ropes has been nearly impossible. Oh for a good teacher!

thinkforward said...

Hello there! How did you become a teacher? I work with a very smart RT and she holds a bachelors degree, but she also earned her masters in business. I didn't think of suggesting this to her, but I am curious what else she may need before I suggest it. She is basically looking for growth. Thanks for reading.