To Teach Is To Learn
Last week I was notified of an incredible honor. I received a citation of excellence in teaching along with 11 other clinical faculty in Family Medicine by the Tufts University School of Medicine 3rd year students. I am pretty sure this recognition does not come with a check, a free car, or a safari adventure but it means a heck of a lot more to me than any of those items. I would not be a physician today without the many incredible teachers I have had- from kindergarten through high school, college, medical school, residency, and clinical practice. There have been a few duds along the way, and not because they were not knowledgable, but moreso because they just seemed disengaged and unhappy teaching. Sadly a few of these duds were in medical school and unfortunately they had no idea the negative influence they had on me. One of them actually drove me away from the field of medicine that I was originally interested in pursuing. So I promised myself back then that I would never treat students that way if I ever had the opportunity to teach. I have only strived to have a positive influence on my students regardless of the field of medicine they choose. And now, by exposing them to Direct Primary Care, I hope they might realize that there is a future in primary care besides the current option of being an employed physician. However , what I did not realize when I first started teaching about ten years ago, was the incredible influence they would have on me.
Over the years, my students have reminded me of why I chose to pursue a career in medicine in the first place- particularly primary care. I see their thirst for knowledge, their drive to try to know everything, their passion to care for people, and their desire to impress me. I often chuckle on the inside when I give them a project or something to look up and they think its just a routine assignment I have given them, when in reality, it is solely so I can learn a new topic/disease or relearn an old topic/disease I have not seen in years. They keep me on my toes and challenge me to be a better educator, doctor, and person in general. They make me realize how under-appreciated primary care is as 6 week rotations do not even scratch the surface of the knowledge base that is needed to do this job well. One of the joys of medicine is that every day is a learning experience, and my students just enhance it and make it that much more enjoyable.
So, as my children finish 1st grade today (with perfect report cards I may add) I thought it would be apropos to write something that shows my appreciation for all the teachers out there, and for the students that remind us teachers that we too are still all students.
PS. Thank you to Tufts Medical School for allowing me to teach and for this incredible honor.