Friday, September 5, 2008

Education at its Finest

I am hesitant to share the following story.

It may come across as immature, or professionally irresponsible, but the truth of the matter is, I don’t make up these occurrences, I merely report the facts.

One unfortunate aspect of my job is the early hour of my first class. It begins at eight o’clock in the morning, which in itself is a reasonable time for most adults. However, and speaking liberally on the behalf of college students, it is preferable for most nineteen year olds to have a tooth extracted without anesthesia rather than attend a class at such an ungodly hour.

The herculean task before me is twofold. First, that I am able to maintain the attention of detached nineteen year olds who really aren’t that interested in anything academic before lunchtime. Secondly, that somehow, by the end of the semester, I have presented content in a way that my students can prove to their academic advisors and tuition-paying parents that it really was worthwhile to snooze their way through my lectures.

I share personal anecdotes, funny stories and gesture wildly all in desperate attempts of having someone PAY ATTENTION. This morning’s class was a classic example of the lengths I will go to and the boundaries I will push all with the primary goal of educating those currently more interested in their accounts on Facebook.

The subject matter today focused on cardiovascular disease. As the wife of a physician who has practiced for more than 14 years, I occasionally hear of unusual expressions used by patients. John never identifies the source of these comments because of mean old HIPPA regulations, but it’s what they say, not who they are, that makes it so funny.

To introduce the day’s topic, I asked my students to identify various conditions mispronounced by patients

The first illness I wrote on the dry erase board was this:
FIREBALLS IN MY UKERUS. (Fibroids in my uterus)

And then the second:
SMILE A MIGHTY JESUS (Spinal meningitis)

After successfully securing the attention of my class without resorting to Red Bull by intravenous fluids, I wrote the final ailment, the primary subject of discussion, in big, bold letters:

MIGHTY INTERNAL FART (Myocardial Infarct)

And that’s when the Chair of the Department of Kinesiology walked into my classroom.

There was total silence; not a PEEP could be heard (pun intended). Like a heated tennis match at the U.S Open featuring Venus and Serena, my students glanced anxiously between the esteemed, well-respected visitor at the doorway and the shocked, now jobless instructor at the board.

Dr. P has more than thirty years of experience at the college, but more importantly, an exceptional sense of humor and boundless patience perfect for folks like me. Joyfully I was not fired on the spot.

I think that’s coming next week.

(Not really. But I have been suspended from use of all dry erase markers.)


Meritt said...

I happen to think it's creative teaching. :)

Joni said...

Thank you, but this "creativity" may just earn me a pink slip!

JMom said...

R & I both just LOLed at this post. When he worked at Grady in inner city ATL he has some doozies!!!

Joni said...

John and I both worked in downtown Atlanta during our dating years - he was at Grady and I was at a homeless unit. (Not as a resident, but as an employee!)

We would meet for lunch and walk the downtown streets to various lunch spots. It was often like a parade, or a weird celebrity sighting, because his patients and my clients were the same and they would follow us down the street shouting our names.

They were the homeless papparazzi, just without the flashing cameras.