>December 12 2001

>Today I tried to put myself in the shoes of our professors. We had to fill out a survey on our Anatomy class in order to give the department feedback. We evaluated the materials, the professors, and the method of instruction. I had no real big complaints. My main advice was that a lot of learning could be facilitated by the instructors doing a lot more hands on teaching in the dissecting lab. I would have liked a professor to come around each day as we did our dissection and give us a many “tour” of that day’s material. Often our group would tentatively identify a structure only to find out the next day we had it wrong.
Anyway all of this led me to thinking about what it would be like to be a professional scientist like these guys. For the life of me I cannot imagine what would possess anyone to pursue a PhD in anatomy but I am glad that there are some people who want to. A career in Biochemistry seems much more appealing. I think our professors there are pretty cool for the most part. One guy in particular I like is a real funny guy. He wears a diamond stud earring and shorts and sandals most days. During his lectures he likes to put attention getters in his PowerPoint slides. During one recent lecture, in the middle of talking about the synthesis of lipoproteins he put up a shot of Britney Spears from the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. He told us he had just thrown that in because he worried that “she wasn’t getting enough exposure.” He loves to fish and will pepper his lectures with photos of him holding fish that he’s caught. The other day he was talking about wasting diseases and he flashed a picture of Keith Richards up. I was a little surprised when both of the twenty-something girls sitting next to me didn’t know who he was.
Anyway, I just wonder what life is like for a researcher / teacher? Do they think we are a bunch of spoiled prima donnas? Sometimes a few people in the class act like it. A few weeks ago, a professor posted an assignment for us that we were to do in small groups. We were supposed to research some dubious nutritional / supplement claims and report our findings back to the class. Somebody in our class posted an anonymous message to our electronic blackboard ripping the professor, saying we didn’t have time for that; didn’t they know that anatomy was more important than biochemistry; we were paying out tuition for them to teach us, not so we could do our own research; and blah, blah, blah. Needless to say it was embarrassing to most of us and I personally apologized to the professor in question for the comments that reflected upon all of us. I guess out of a class of 100 plus there will always be a few whiners.
The other big time killer today was a required library research “test” we had to take. Last week we endured a two hour library orientation session where we learned how to access the electronic resources of the library. We then had a test that we had to complete to show we knew how to look things up. It took about three hours and I couldn’t help but think I would have been much better off reading some Histology.

On a personal note, Angie and I went out to eat at a local BBQ place while the older kids were at a Christmas party. Little McKenzie (6.5 mos) sat up in a high chair for the first time and had a fine time. She’s a big girl now!

Well I’ve got to memorize the Urea cycle before bedtime.

About Marcus Lee

Child Neurologist
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