Dokter Blog: from the desk of Rahajeng Tunjungputri

Medicine et cetera by @ajengmd

What do you expect from your teachers?


I’ve always loved writing. It hasn’t always brought me positive result. Sometimes I envy people in other countries where they have a little bit more freedom of speech in medicine. And that you don’t have to be old first to share your experience and opinions.

I found a blog of a medical student: with a post titled as “The Deal” by Lucia Li.

She basically states what the medical students expect from the doctors, and what they are willing to give back to the doctors who teach them. Some points there, from a student perspective they ask the followings from the doctors who teach them:

“Don’t ignore us — no-one likes to be ignored. We’re here to learn, we want to learn. show some interest in our education and we’ll likely love you forever.

Remember who we’re going to be — doctors. That means, however many years down the line, we’re going to be your house-officers, your registrars. It’s in your interest to teach us and contribute to our elevation from ignorance/ incompetency.

Remember who we currently are — students. We want to learn. About lots of different things.

Challenge us — ask us questions to get us thinking. It helps us to identify the important things to learn. It also may spark a lasting interest in that specialty…

But, hey, this is a two-way bargain. What can we, the students, offer in return?

And then they offer the teachers what they can do in return

What should we, the students, do?

Mind our manners — We will appreciate the fact that you have given time out of your busy schedule for us.

We’ll make use of your efforts — If I’m going to be taught by someone who I know will ask me questions and challenge me, I will certainly try to do some reading beforehand so I understand more of what you’re teaching. In short, it is only right that we reciprocate the interest you have taken in our education with an interest in improving our own.

Give feedback — if you have taught me well, I will make try to show my appreciation by thanking you when I leave clinic or telling the course organisers. But, the best feedback we can give you…

Be excellent doctors — being taught well by a good doctor has two benefits. The first being the imparting of medical wisdom. The second being the setting of a role model; a good doctor, explaining things as they go along, engaging with me as well as their work, always inspires me to do that same. Learn more, try harder.”

And here, I’d like to make my own personal points. I am still a student, and as a doctor I know I will continue being a student for a very long time (for my residency, for my research). On the other hand, I also teach, which I only started very recently, which gives me great pleasure and a fresh perspective on students and teaching.

From what I experience, I know that still being a student can help me learn how to be a good teacher. I observe my own teachers, learn what is for me an exciting and great learning experience. I love it when my teachers stimulate me to think and answer questions in the class instead of just bombarding me with information because it helped me form my pattern of thinking in a logical way. I love it when they can capture my interest and award me with extra information. I love it when I realize that after a class I gain new knowledge and insight. I love it when the teachers engage personally with us and interested in what we have learned so far. I love it when the teachers give feedback about our assignments and our efforts in working on those assignments. I love it when the ultimate goal is to help us understand the subjects. I love it when they have time to teach us even though they are very busy, and focused on us during the class. I love it when they are interested and enthusiastic about what they teach, because it makes us understand the importance of learning them. I love it when they appreciate me and my efforts. I love it when they inspire!

I only very recently started as assistant lecturer. And when I have discussion with my students, I know that I ask them to do “at least” the followings. I want them to be focused in class. I want them to be prepared before meeting me, because then we can engage more in the discussions. I want them to understand the fundamentals: why we think in certain ways, why certain things are very important, what is the “big picture”, what’s the underlying principle and philosophy of the things we learn, what I want them to learn specifically for the exams and also what they still have to remember for the rest of their lives as doctors. I want them to be able to learn how to think, and what to think about. I want them to start a class with focus and attention because there’s new information I’d like to share with them. I want them to do their assignments and do them well because I also prepare myself to give feedback on their assignments. I want them to read, because I also read and there are items in the reading material that I’d love to discuss with them. I want to share new things with them, because I don’t want them to be bored with the learning session. I want them to share their opinions, their questions and answers. I want them to be interested and to always want to do better.

So, what do you expect from your teachers?

— Rahajeng

Filed under: miscelaneous, , , ,

One Response

  1. Ruli says:

    Hello.. I just stumbled upon this blog recently. I didn’t even remember what I was searching for when I found your articles, but I’m glad I did. I’m a newly graduated doctor. A little more than a year ago, actually, but I don’t feel I have many experiences so I consider myself new 🙂
    I like this article and the one about “co-ass”, you have a very honest and challenging perspective. I believe you are one of the people who will make Indonesia’s medical education better.
    I don’t know if you ever read the following article. It’s about teaching-learning process in medicine from the teachers’ point of view.

    I truly enjoy your articles, esp about medical education and doctor-patient relationship. Keep up the good works.

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Medicine is a growing field, and information presented here is reflective of the time of posting. Please refer to your physician for direct medical consultation. My views do not reflect those of my employers. --
Regards, Rahajeng

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