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March 4, 2016: Over the Top

A great phrase. This (right now) is how I feel about Anatomy and Physiology II. The amount of material/information one is expected to learn/internalize/memorize/regurgitate, and recall is – over the top.

Monday I have a lab practical. And on Wednesday I have a lecture exam. Originally, both were to be on a Monday. Any teacher that believes that their students could do a good job in simultaneously taking one right after the other is delusional. The dates were changed, so I can say delusional since this was more than a passing thought. It made it onto the syllabus, which was subsequently revised.

I enjoy studying/learning new things. This morning I finished my lecture notes review of the digestive system. I have the big picture in mind now although I did not get to review the physiology of absorption. And this afternoon I finished my lab notes review of the cardiac system. I have the big picture in mind now although I did not get to review the physiology of the EKGs.

Late this afternoon, as I was studying the cardiac system – I ran at top speed and hit the proverbial brick wall. Right then, I realized that I’m not going to get through all the material, not even if I spend ten hours a day, for the next three days, reviewing this stuff. I am just going to have to take these two exams well knowing that there is more I don’t know than what I do know.

No sour grapes here. I am not a slacker. I’ve been studying all along. I do what I set out to do. I’m just this way. But this is a near impossible situation, one that has me envisioning those who are so mentally organized that they can conceptualize, categorize, analyze, and internalize the given material. These students have either taken courses like this before or have strong medical backgrounds. They also have plenty of time on their hands. I have also spent time envisioning those who are at the other extreme. They have not taken courses like this before or have no medical backgrounds. They also have no time on their hands. They have families, jobs, are taking a full course load. Me, I’m in the middle somewhere, just scratching my head because I don’t understand why the teacher, in thinking about her intended audience, hasn’t worked to find a pedagogical middle ground.

This begs the question – why would the course instructor assign so much work? I think Cooper (my lab and lecture partner) had it right when he said that she who got her PhD worked very hard for it – and consequently expects her students to work equally hard. Cooper is in the above, latter category. He is (and these would be his words “wicked smart,” but like me, he has gotten discouraged by what really are unrealistic course expectations.

What I did not say to Cooper is that I was once like our anatomy and physiology teacher. I too, at one time expected far too much of my students. I too raised the bar so high that the majority could not leap over it. My expectations were unrealistic. I know this now, I who am on the flip side of sort of thinking. When I was a student my teachers did raise the bar, but not so high that I could not get over it. That is, not until now.

I hope to someday teach again. When I do, I am going to bring what I am experiencing in this class back to the forefront of my thinking. Right now I wish that I could work with this teacher, that is in an area that I was trained in – writing across the disciplines. I have some very definitive ideas as to how I might make this a less overwhelming course both in terms of how the content is presented and in terms of the amount of material. I’d start by suggesting that the teacher focus on a few key concepts rather than attempt to cover all of them. Alas, the divide between the arts and sciences is so wide that this teacher would never be able to bridge it.

Tomorrow always tomorrow, I who prioritize and follow a set study schedule will go over the lymph and immune system in the morning, and the lab material on the same in the afternoon and evening. I won’t get through it all, but I won’t give up, which is right now, what I would most like to do.

I have high hopes right now – I hope that the forces of nature conspire so that the lab practical gets postponed until after spring break. (This is what would have to be done since the week after next is spring break). A rain/snow day would be preferable to an earthquake though I’d gladly take latter. We’ll see. Over the top, though indeed the bar appears to be in the clouds.

Next: 63. 3/5/16: New Neural Pathways Charter School

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