Saturday, November 7, 2009

Why, Undergrads?

Courtesy of PhD Comics

I often wonder whether I'm making an impact as a grad student TA. I mean, I am teaching Anatomy & Physiology to Undergrads who will soon be responsible for the life and death of other human beings (95% or more of my students are nursing students). So, I am very disheartened when I hear the following statements from my students:

"Why do we need to know this? When am I going to need to know about _______(insert any body system here)?"

"I'm not really worried about learning all this stuff. I just need to pass so I can take my clinicals."

"It's too hard to remember the medical (or scientific) terms. For the test, can't we just describe it?"

Le sigh. That's not to say that these aren't smart or capable students-because almost all of them are. They are just too overworked/lazy/busy/tired/disinterested to care about my piddly 1 credit lab. I'm sure I did the same thing to my TAs when I was in their position-I mean, when you're taking 18 hours and working 40, you try to cut corners wherever you can. However, I am still discouraged.

Of course, there is always that one student, that beacon of hope for the future of my sanity who says "this is a really interesting class-where can I get more info on what we did today?" or "Are you teaching ______(insert whatever they are taking next semester)? I really like you as a TA."

Ultimately, I think it is a worthwhile experience. And, probably karmic retribution for every time I said "Is this going to be on the test?"

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