Tuesday, September 30, 2008


We had a record “20” responses this month. If you have not already read them, I encourage you to go to the September Archives and read each one. The following are just a few “pearls” from the list.

  • 3 or 4 of our responding BLOGGERS mentioned the importance of keeping material new, reading and adding up-to-date information to the “talk”. New findings with their implications for practice can be a great springboard for comparing old with new and many other teaching strategies and stories that go beyond the simple facts
  • Another theme was changing from thinking about what and how to teach to thinking about your learners’ needs. What do they need to learn? Where are they now? And What can you offer to help “fill the gap” By focusing on each new groups’ learning needs, you are probably starting at a different place and covering similar material but with the focus not on teaching , but helping the learners succeed.
  • Another theme was very practical and focused on extrinsic as well as intrinsic rewards. Extrinsic rewards come from students, one BLOGGER suggested keeping those positive letters and notes from students for a “rainy day” when your motivation needs a boost. Others used feedback as a tool in refining their teaching. Intrinsically reward yourself by communicating with other dedicated teachers.
  • Finally, TRY NEW THINGS!!! Get out of your “comfort zone”, go to workshops when offered and learn new approaches to teaching. And most importantly do it with enthusiasm. If you don’t feel enthusiastic, “fake it”, then feed off the students response until you really feel it. Or as one BLOGGER offered, Just say, I’m not on my “A” Game today, let’s go get coffee and do “flash cards”
  • My humble addition is to mentor a new teacher on the faculty. No, not that “star” that is a natural, but that highly motivated, limited teaching skill faculty member that really needs you! When I hear that faculty member has gotten great reviews by students, I’ve got a smile on my face a mile wide.
    Hope these suggestions were useful to you!

Monday, September 1, 2008


Let's face it, Teaching is not rewarded in the same way that Clinical Work and Research are in most large academic medical teaching centers. It may be that we simply are not able to measure outcomes in teaching the same way we can in the other two "legs on the academic stool".

Some faculty say, "teaching is its own reward" and I would agree. But how do you keep your teaching "fresh" in the face of all the other demands on your time. This was not the question I had planned for September, but a gifted "early career" teacher stopped me today and asked, "How do they do it! How do some of these guys teach year after year and act like they are teaching this material for the first time? How can I keep my enthusiasm? Sometimes I just feel tired"

So this question is to our faculty who have been doing this for a few years. How do you keep it "fresh" (or appear to)? Any tips you have for keeping your enthusiasm and avoiding burnout would be most welcome. Let's break our record of 10 responses.