Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Time to Teach.

I don't want to be a human speed breaker--
some wretched intrusion to your hasty departure
from the hospital

I hate imagining that my bright eyes create too much of a glare for you

or that my bushy tail gets in the way of what you have to do
I don't want to think things like that

but sometimes that's how it feels

It isn't my preference to be scuttled off into dusty corners

pseudo-encouraged to explore answers to sidebar questions
that you may or may not even care about

or at least care to hear about from me

It doesn't elate me to be dismissed with the sun still high in the sky

nudged out of the building
but mostly out of your way while you tend to the things
that I long to learn all about

"I wish there was more time to teach," you told me

because if there were you'd show me all kinds of things
and explain more of the nitty gritty of what you're doing

You would but you can't

because there's too much to do and not enough time

Never enough time

especially to teach me in the ways you want to teach me

And so

I sit in the shadows while you scroll through screens
your industrious gaze mostly indifferent broken occasionally by an obligatory smile
then I walk behind you asking the questions 
the ones that I hope might unlock the door and invite me in
into the reasoning, the bedside discoveries, and the sticky conundrums
into the subtle interactions that can and will shape me into a real doctor

But today, you don't because there just isn't enough time

you blanket me with compliments
before sending me in the opposite direction

away from you

away from them
away from the parts I signed up for and always dream of

And yes

I know you wish there was more time to teach me--
the human speed breaker standing between you and "done for the day"--
and yes, I know that you wish you knew what to do with me


You know what I wish?

I wish you knew the truth

that there's always time to teach

and that you're always teaching me

whether you intend to or not

Happy Wednesday.

Oh yeah!

Tonight is our 3rd Annual Fellows Teaching Competition at Emory. The Department of Medicine sponsors this amazing event celebrating our dynamic junior teachers--those in fellowship training. Each has prepared an 8 minute lecture that they'll present to a full house and a panel of esteemed judges. The one with the top score takes home a substantial cash prize. Why? Because we want to put our money where our mouth is when it comes to letting our learners and institution know that we value medical education. Every year this event excites us all and reaffirms what those busy days make us forget--that there's always time to teach.

The order of the speakers tonight was selected by the unbiased and sticky fingers of the seven year-old boy pictured below. Oh, and you can read this post to learn more about the Fellows Teaching Competition.

Had to add this. . . .

When you take the time to teach, learners be like. . . .


  1. Hope your event is as enjoyable as last year. Thanks for the explaination on the other post. I made an appointment to explore another rare condition with an Emory Clinic doctor and was told I would be seen by a fellow. I wasn't sure what that meant. This gives me a whole lot more faith in whomever I see.

  2. WOW-more awesomeness in Atlanta. Such a great idea this teaching competition of your!
    I am an ID fellow and will be an ID attending this July 1 at Hershey Penn State Med Center. Wondering if there's anything like your fellows competition there…hmmm

  3. I love that gif---Learners be like, whaaaaaaaaaaat!

    "You were always teaching me, whether you want to or not"---that is an incredibly important concept to remember, for those of us who are teachers, and for those of us who are parents!


"Tell me something good. . . tell me that you like it, yeah." ~ Chaka Khan

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