Henry Brooks Adams said, “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” When my childhood dentist discovered that I was accepted to medical school, he gave me one piece of advice: “no matter how busy you get, at the end of your interaction with each and every patient, pause and ask one question…is there anything else I can do for you?” This simple statement continues to profoundly impact my daily clinical practice. As a physician, I try to approach and respect each of my patients in the same manner that I would want my closest friend or family member to be managed. My approach to teaching can be summarized by a quote from the author, Khalil Gibran: “the teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.” As an educator, my goals are not just to share my own knowledge, compassion, and experience with my colleagues and students, but more importantly, to impart my enthusiasm for lifelong learning, to stimulate others to seek information far beyond what I teach, and to inspire them to exceed their own expectations.
As Sir William Osler advised students more than a century ago, education is “not a college course, not a medical course, but a life course, for which the work of a few years under teachers is but a preparation.” It is a distinct honor to be a member of this Academy invested in the life course of our future health professionals.
I was extremely lucky to have the most amazing teachers and mentors who conveyed to me their love and excitement of learning and scholarly work. It has always been important that I continue the tradition of integrating the great work from the past with the rapidly expanding genetic information. My challenge is to grab my students’ interests using interactive techniques, and to encourage them to think bigger and deeper, to find their own answers, and to take ownership of the process.
The most important and gratifying experience in life is to be in a position where you can.............. help someone. Life in academia provides each of us these opportunities many times each day. We must take full advantage of each opportunity.
Education is a journey and not a destination, both for the student as well as the teacher. “ Three R's for adult education are reception, registration and recapitulation. The fourth R is repetition which aids in the art of teaching and learning. A teacher must have patience, dedication and confidence. A teacher should create excitement for learning. An error by the trainee is an educational opportunity. A teacher needs to trust the student and expect excellence. A student‘s achievement of the pinnacle of success is a dream come true for the teacher. According to Hindu Philosophy, if the student (shishya) performs better than the teacher, it is a job well done by the teacher (guru)!
Each student can excel if the fundamentals are taught well with interactive teaching in a cooperative learning environment. Cultural practices, beliefs and learning styles should be considered for a diverse student population. The teacher must move with the times and adapt to change, as well as, learn from the students. This way, both the student and the teacher can be lifelong learners.