Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Speed bumps . . .

Have you ever hit a speed bump going to fast? Those bumps can certainly shake you up if you hit them to fast. Those little bumps are put there for a reason and they work pretty well. They remind us that we are going too fast. Fortunately they don't put them on the road just in those places where we really need to go slow. Sometimes we hit speed bumps in life which are in places when we don't expect them. If we are going too fast and not paying attention to the important people or activities in our life these unexpected bumps can really shake us. I don't have that great of shock absorbers on my life's car, if you know what I mean. This past week I was reminded that bumps I have hit are pretty small compared to some of the extreme challenges that people have to face. The injury of a child or an unexpected diagnosis can shake a person to the core and change the direction a life is going. These events may seem like a lot more than just speed bumps but they do cause us to slow down in life and think about what is important. I think I am going to check my shock absorbers! Life shock absorbers like the vertical and horizontal relationships in my life. How are your shock absorbers?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Nose to the grindstone

Being well into the semester, it is good to take a moment and remember the value of applying yourself to your work. The phrase: "Keep your nose to the grindstone" means to apply yourself conscientiously to your work. This is a busy time of the year but really it seems that there is seldom a time that is not busy. For students in our program, this is a busy time and often a time when student question their ability to reach their goals. It is at this time that many students who have never experienced having to work to make good grades are faced with lower grades than they have experienced in the past. As a child I remember hearing that no matter how big and tough you think you are, there is someone out there that is bigger. When I think of the volume of material that is expected of the student in this program, I think of that saying. No matter how smart you are, there is an amount of material that will humble you. It humbles me as an instructor. That is what makes the profession of physical therapy so exciting to me, you really have to "apply yourself conscientiously" to your preparation.
Applying yourself conscientiously is not cramming the night before a big test. Nor is it coming to class without reading the material ahead of time. This info goes for teachers as well as students. We are all learners and learning should never stop. A great thing about our profession is that if you ever think you know it all, the next patient will likely challenge you. Keep grinding away.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Learning as a way of life . . .

Life long learning is a important characteristic to have, whether a student or a teacher. I have been reading this week about a an important function of schools. When our students leave the classroom does the learning stop? If it does, then we have failed. Our purpose should be to create in our students a desire to learn more. An ongoing desire to learn is something that is demonstrated by actions. What do students do with their "spare" time? What do teachers do with their "spare" time? We can't expect students do develop a desire to learn if teachers do not demonstrate the behaviors of life long learning.

Friday, August 8, 2008

New toy . . .

When is the last time you felt like a kid with a new toy? It is funny but I don't think I have ever outgrown that feeling. I enjoy using technology and I realize that I only scratch the surface of how technology can be used to enhance education. I was reminded this past week that technology is a great tool, but it is an imperfect tool that doesn't always work. I experienced a little technological "bump in the road." This bump was only a few days without the ability to access my data files, but it was at a time when I had planned to get a lot of things done. How much do we depend on technology? I know I depend on it quite a bit, in fact I can't quite remember how we got a long without it. I guess it is always important to remember that we always need to be flexible and have a plan B, when the hard drive of plan A crashes. Fortunately I did have other things I could work on and still got important work done. It is always a good idea to have a plan for when the "new toy" breaks, looses power, or just doesn't do everything that you expect it to do.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Are we there yet?

If you have ever been in a car on a trip with young children, you here this question frequently. It is a good question! When you are going on a trip to a destination you haven't been before, it is hard to know when you get there or how far you are away. You have to know what "there" looks like. How do you know when you get there? As a child, you depend on a parent to let you know, hopefully they don't get tired of the question. As we begin this fall semester, I am always excited about the upcoming year. It is always great to see new students with open minds and engaged attitudes. What does it mean to be engaged? I think it means being fully committed to learning. I expect students to be excited about learning.
I believe that if we are going to expect that from students, we need to provide an example. Teaching is more effective when the teacher is engaged. My plan this year is to be more engaged and connected to the needs of students. It is my hope that the new technology that will allow students to review lecture content at home will allow for more time in class to spend experiencing learning. I recently heard that real learning occurs when students are not being lectured to. We need to spend less time lecturesing and more time doing something else. The something else will be what we will call "engaging learning". To do this we must be active in our learning activiites.
Back to the question, students will feel at times like they have arrived but more often they will feel like they are still miles from their destination. The faculty will help to answer the question. We know were "there" is and our job is help students to know what the destination looks like. In talking about the PTA program, what does the entry level PTA student look like? Our mission in part is to develop effective entry level PTAs? To do this students must get a picture of what that means. My intent this year is to do a better job of providing this picture to them as we go. We will begin on day #1. Hang in there, it won't be much longer.