Monday, February 26, 2007

I Was Told There Would be No Math.

“Evil requires the sanction of the victim.”

~Ayn Rand

When I grade the tests of 90 pharmacy students taking clinical pharmacokinetics and one of them writes an answer that doesn't "make sense," or is correct in concept but wrong in some details, the first thing I think to myself is "shoot, we didn't teach it well enough." How many times have any of my professors in this often wretched department ever said that?


Dr Levy, in fact, and he said it to me. Once during a journal review session and I was attempting to answer a question. I started out by saying "I know we heard this in this other class, but I dont think I remember it very well and I am sorry for that..." or something along those lines. Dr Levy interrupted me and told me that the faculty should be the ones apologizing, not me, for it is among their duties to instruct such that we can remember.

I have never heard such a peep from any of the other faculty. They would rather hide behind the excuse of Graduate School Level Expectations than take responsibility for being a shitty teacher.

So I sit at night grading tests, knowing exactly how hard it is for these future pharmacists with a humungous class load, and I wonder how well they are being taught. I see them miss easy computations and I first wonder what should have been done to prepare them better. Of course there is always the factor of the student spending time on the material, but these are a very select few in the pharmacy school and we have to assume that at this level of competition mixed with education that studying is occurring based on the prioritization of classes and grades and subject matter. And the variable that is left is instruction.

I have the advantage of knowing the material almost as well as the professors, at this point, for most of the subjects. Because of that I can watch them without the fear of not knowing, and it provides some startling illuminations on their own fears of inadequacy and lack of teaching ability. What scares me more than anything else is that the sense of ego is so strong for them all, with the exception of Dr. Levy, that it is more difficult for them to accept some responsibility and perhaps improve the learning of the students at their mercy than it is to point the finger at the students and assume they just aren't working hard enough.

I was told there would be no math. But the math happened and I didn't understand it the first time. Now its too late.

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