A new semester begins…
This is my 4th semester teaching in the classroom, and the first where I’m not doing a clinical rotation. Last Fall I discovered that the challenges of six lectures and a clinical rotation coupled with 150 students. It was definitely a “live and learn – don’t do that again” grind. I find as I age that coupling two days of arising at 0400 with 12 – 14 hour work days is exhausting, especially when the rest of the week is spent in front of the computer for 8 – 10 hours reading papers, writing and proofing lectures, reading and responding to countless emails, trying to keep up with current research and trends in healthcare… I hate to admit it, but I’m getting too old to maintain that level of effort. Further, and this I freely admit, I don’t want to work that hard, nor do I want to work my life away; I have outside interests which have zero connection to nursing, and about which I am easily as passionate.
Yesterday was, and will be for the next 15 weeks, my “long day.” Up at 0400, on campus by 0700 (traffic depending), and then lecturing from 0800 to 1800. My morning and late afternoon Nursing Pharmacology III classes were spent with the senior nursing students who I had in Spring of 2015 as second semester nursing students. It was a joy to see them again, observe the increasing maturity and confidence. Especially I enjoyed their increased willingness to ask questions; they were much more reticent a year ago.
Sandwiched in between were my latest wave of second semester students in Med Surg. It’s intriguing to see the different “group personality” each cohort seems to exhibit, as well as the individuals within the groups. One of my personal challenges, life long, has been recalling names. I’m always a bit embarrassed, but I am perpetually challenged to remember names. As one of my other acquaintances noted just the other day, I can be introduced, shake hands, turn and find I’ve already lost their name. As I approach the middle of my sixth decade, I don’t know if I’ll ever get this aspect of my brain to work properly. Sigh…
What’s new? I’ve become both increasingly demanding of rigor in their work, and better prepared and organized myself. I think, for the first time, I will have all of my lectures, quizzes, case studies, and tests in place before I’m fully engaged in delivering that content. Last semester I had the opportunity to take on a couple of new courses and found myself writing lectures and creating presentations in the morning for use in the afternoon. Not efficient, and part of the reason I found myself continually playing catch-up. This semester looks to be different. Not to say the work is done; it’s never done. Just like software development, there’s always a new, improved, enhanced version. But, just the same, I’m anticipating having time to pursue some of my other interests AND be a better instructor.
So, off to tweak Nursing Pharm II (same students in Med Surg with me), which happens on Mondays. I look forward to offering them all the support, information, and tools to become the best RNs they can be. After that, it’s up to them.