Teaching is difficult. Teachers — especially the great teachers, they just don’t receive enough credit. I have actively been teaching a non credit pharmacy technician class the past 8 weeks, while also performing Preceptor duties for 4th year Pharmacy School students.
What have I learned while doing both simultaneously?
Obviously the biggest difference is that teaching in the community pharmacy is a more hands on experience in that there’s real life scenarios and people versus teaching in the classroom where there’s only the lecturer, student, book, and white board/chalk board to convey the message.
In the classroom there’s the “audience effect”. You’re lecturing, and you can easily become the only speaker if there’s not a question you give your audience to answer. Thus, you have to exert more of your body and brain energy into focused segments to convey an effective message.
This burden of energy expenditure being on the speaker/lecturer can be lightened only by actively engaging the student by using the white board, computer, or book to create examples and questions of real life scenarios.
Energy expenditure while teaching in the pharmacy is reduced in comparison to the classroom. The drugs, the patients, the real life scenarios are there to be be used as living examples of why the student must study physiology, pharmacology, infectious disease, pharmaceutics, and so on and so forth.
The student can easily view the drug by going to the shelf. They can learn the pharmacology and use of the drug by simply looking at the package insert that comes with the drug. They can observe the practicing pharmacist or pharmacy technician and learn from their behaviors, movements, speech, and thought process in working together as a team to produce the appropriate final product. The examples do not have to be created in the pharmacy — because the examples are there to be observed, studied, learned, and memorized for the present and future use with patients that day and the days ahead.
This accumulation of knowledge by the pharmacy student and pharmacy technician while on externship can produce a foundation of knowledge for how to talk, when to talk, when not to talk, and when to act.
First point… Good teaching isn’t a lecture, it’s a conversation.
Second point… Good teachers find common ground with the student — so that the thoughts expressed by the teacher can be easily understood by the student.
Third point…Good teachers find out what their student’s baseline of knowledge is. By understanding their current knowledge or lack thereof — the Good teacher can elevate and motivate the student to an appropriate and/or desired level of competency.
Conclusion — I have a long way to go in becoming identified as one of the “good teachers”. However, I’ve identified these three points too consider while playing this role.