Med Student Teaching 101

I haven’t had too many opportunities to teach during my postdoc, at least not in the classroom, but I have led my fair share of med student labs. The first few involved second-year med students – up against their board exams and stressed out beYOND belief. While several of the students were bright and hardworking, a few drove me crazy with their obsession about the impending boards. Why are we studying this, it won’t be on the boards. or That’s not the answer in my practice book. or This is a waste of my time, can we leave? By the end of my first round of teaching, I’d have rather shot myself in the head than take a job where I’d be responsible for instructing these guys again.

My more recent teaching experiences, however, have been with first-year med students, and what a difference! Aside from the fact that many of these guys were scared to death of doing something wrong (exactly how long should I wash with water after the third step of the Gram stain?), they were SO. MUCH. FUN! Talk about excited about EVERYTHING. And they really wanted to please all their instructors (including little ol’ me). As soon as they figured out that messing up was allowed in the lab (it’s okay if you kill bacteria), and that I’d rather them make a mistake while figuring out the best way to do things instead of following a formulaic list of procedures, they were fanTAStic.

I now think I could handle teaching at a med school…so long as some of these younger, more fun students are mixed in with the older, stressed-out bores.


3 thoughts on “Med Student Teaching 101

  1. Teaching 2nd y med students sounds a lot like trying to teach field ecology to pre-med undergrads who are studying for the MCAT.

    Cool that you see some teaching you think you'd enjoy. 🙂

  2. I taught MS2s in grad school. I could have sworn a couple of them were on drugs as high-strung as they were. And I got a few of them that asked me a question as a test, and if I didn't answer the way they liked, I got disregarded from then on out. But most of them were great.

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