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Saturday, March 5, 2011

What type of medical school teacher are you?

Since many doctors are going into teaching for various reasons and many doctors have been teaching for years already, a nice question for reflection at this point would be, "What kind or class of teacher am I?"

I never got the chance to be taught directly by Dr. Angeles Tan-Alora in Health Professions Education class but I always love her work including her reflections of doctor-teachers particularly on the subject of the classes of doctor-teachers which is found in the book, "Teaching and Learning in the Health Sciences" (Dean Erlyn Sana, my UP NTTC-HP professor is the editor of this book), the first Health Profession Education textbook made in the Philippines.

From this book, I learned there were 3 classes of doctor-teachers:

  1. Born teachers
  2. Don't teach teachers, and the
  3. Non-teachers
(Before we continue, I will like to insert this Filipino proverb in Tagalog language which only Filipino readers may probably understand. This may be applicable to those who will read the ensuing paragraphs. Here it goes: "Bato bato sa langit, matamaan wag magalit." Google translation: "Kidney stones in the sky, do not miss, angry.")

Seriously, let's discuss the 3 classes of doctor-teachers one by one.

The Born teachers
The born teachers are the once we admire the most. They have a heart of a real teacher who see teaching as a vocation, an apostolate. They are always finding ways to improve, are open to learn something new and welcome new ideas. They are professionally mature and responsible, serving as good models for their students. Despite their practice, they fulfill their teaching commitments conscientiously since they have made a commitment to teach.

The Don't teachers
The don't teach teachers on the other hand are either "don't know" teachers, the "can't teach" teachers or the"won't teach" teachers.

The "don't know" ones are those who are motivated and willing to teach but are not competent to teach because either, teaching is not an inherent talent for them or they don't have training for teaching. According to Dr. Alora, they are "insecure, rigid, bookish, and afraid to make a mistake, but ready to be nurtured and refined."

The "can't teach" teachers are those who cannot teach because they are too busy with too much load. Either they volunteered for the overloads or their school heads or deans overload them to the point of inefficiency. Jack of all trades, master of none. Oftentimes these teachers have impressive credentials so that they are given multiple positions or assignments. Too bad, as a result of too much load or busyness, some things are left neglected and precious time to guide the students are lost.

The "won't" teachers are those with attitude problems. They "accept teaching assignments for the wrong reasons: salary, hospital affiliation, patient connections, academic title and faculty benefits..." (Alora, 2010)

The description of won't teachers are well-described by Dr. Alora in the book that I would have wanted to preserve and post all of it in it's original form here. I just settled instead with posting some of her original quotes verbatim regarding the won't teachers below:

According to her, "They [the won't teach teachers] come to class late, if at all...Their secretaries regularly interrupt their classes with messages...They violate the sixth commandment: 'thou shall not steal.' They steal [time] from the students and the administration. They teach irresponsibility."

In the classroom, "...they autocratically dictate to students what is to be learned...they spoonfeed...and test only memory or sometimes trivia."

She continues, "Their desire to be in the limelight extends only to being involved only when they can enjoy the sound of their own voice in a lecture on their specialty. They sit at the front of the class or stand in the podium with the students as audience. They entertain and amuse."

The Non-teachers
This is the last group and again Dr. Alora describes them aptly as those "genetically created not to teach." (Ouch!)

They are considered educators without education, teachers by name only obtaining the teaching position possibly by palakasan or the padrino system. They have no competence, no professionalism nor motivation to teach and therefore the worst among the teachers.

So, can you see yourself in any of these teachers? What class of doctor-teacher are you?

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