What antics from teachers do you hate the most?

Veneficus

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So today I was sitting in class. While playing tic-tac-toe against my neighbor and practicing forging the signatures of various names on the attendance list while the professor was droning on in the background without looking up from his PC in a monotone that could endanger Ben Stein's job security, I was reminiscing about my own start in teaching.

I started out because somebody threw down the gauntlet. I was working on a 911 unit and for some reason (I think it was jealousy) the supervisor decided to always stick me with the new people, which by default meant I had to “show them the ropes.”

I wouldn’t have called it teaching. I was not a teacher and the only thing I knew about it was there were good ones and bad ones. I was simply showing people what was done. Some picked it up, some didn’t. In a month or two these people would be replaced by another new one, and if they learned anything or not wasn’t of interest to me. (call it the world’s worst FTO program) So finally when speaking to one of my favorite instructors I complained the people coming to the field knew less and less and it wasn’t my job to teach them. He tried to explain the quality of students was diminishing and I wasn’t going to accept that excuse. “Then they shouldn’t pass,” was my response. I had no idea about enrollment, pass statistics, or any of those “academic” things. So in his frustration he said if I thought I could do better I could start helping teach skills labs. Now 7 years later, between my own semesters of school, I spend between 40-48 hours a week as a primary lecturer teaching various levels of both EMS and other healthcare providers. I have even picked up some formal teaching training.

My method is rather simple. I remember the worst teachers I had, and simply do the opposite. Things I find intuitive, relating to the students, speaking with them not at them, encouraging them not berating them, and most of all, not reading a PowerPoint that is essentially a textbook paragraph word for word. But now I’d like to take it a step further and actually ask people what they think makes a bad teacher.

So what is it that your teachers have done that you hate the most?

What makes a good teacher?

If you could make a wish that would make your class time better, aside from not going, what would it be?
 

46Young

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I don't appreciate it when a teacher takes up valuable class time with war stories. Also, stick with the course content and don't go off on tangents about "learn it for the test, but then disregard it, this is how we do it in the field".
 

mycrofft

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Little Napoleons

Try to shore up their fragile egos by threatening and frightening people, trying to make it a "boot camp", maybe looking to fail folks rather than teach them.
 

jerm

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I don't appreciate it when a teacher takes up valuable class time with war stories. Also, stick with the course content and don't go off on tangents about "learn it for the test, but then disregard it, this is how we do it in the field".

This is one of the ones that bothers me the most. I can tolerate the war stories, but to tell me to ignore my book just irritates me.
 

mycrofft

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It irritates me that the books are dogmatic.

Nothing like watching newbies whacking each other over the head (figuratively) with their respective texts when in the real world the differences are (sometimes) moot. When something really precise comes through, you feel maybe they are just being proprietary again.

You can pick up the mushiness of reality in OJT, I guess it can be confusing when you get exposed to the contradictions early.
 

Noctis Lucis Caelum

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Try to shore up their fragile egos by threatening and frightening people, trying to make it a "boot camp", maybe looking to fail folks rather than teach them.

Right on the hot spot...i really hate this one right here Crofty, this is why most of my classmates fail

Also teachers that yell and scold at student in class instead of teaching them from their mistake.
Its a class room, we student are suppose to fail in class so we won't fail out in the field.
But instead of teaching us, they scold us telling us we should know this, know that, do this, etc

Students are in class to learn and not to be yelled at what they should already know or don't know :(
 
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Euclidus

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Yeah, the berating students for making a mistake is pretty asinine in a classroom setting. One of my lab instructors for my EMT-B seemed to derive enormous amounts of joy by doing this, because it was a constant. That kind of attitude sort of just sours the learning environment...

The worst to me, though, is the Powerpoint thing. I can't stand it when instructors just read the slides word for word, which are generally word for word summaries of whatever textbook the powerpoint presentation came from. It's such a waste of time! Powerpoint should be one tool in the arsenal... not the bread & butter of the instruction!
 

Medic744

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The two teachers I hated the most were my basic instructor and my paramedic instructor.

My basic because he was more intrested in coming up with off the wall stuff to show us and berrating us than teaching us. He had an anxiety attack when I finished his final in 30 min and made a 98.

My paramedic because he had spent more time behind a desk than on the street and would become irrate when you pointed out his flawed teaching. I also had him for an intermediate class and he relied heavily on power point and student information discs. The information never went together with what we on and he always said if we could prove he didnt teach it or give it to us on a disc he would credit the points back on a test. I never got less than an A due to that.

The best teacher I had was my intermediate instructor. She knew her material and knew how to teach us. She used real life experiences not to share war stories but would make them into interactive scenarios for us to learn from. I remember on the day of one of our finals the entire class failed. I came closest to passing with a 78. She cried and took it as a personal failing on her part. She felt that she hadnt given us the info we needed. On the retest, after many hours reviewing with her, we all passed. It wasnt her fault, it was the moron who made the test.
 

FLEMTP

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From my experience.. typically the best medics out there in the field rarely go into teaching.. they're too busy loving their job. Thats of course not the case with everyone.. but it seems to be more of the general trend than the exception to the rule...

It also seems like a majority of the time that people go into teaching either because they cant cut it in the field, or get so burned out that they want to do something different.. again, not the rule, just an observation on my part from years of EMS in many different locations.

I've thought about going into teaching, but im hesitant. I've done part time instruction in the past, and its enjoyable, but I still very much love running calls, and I'd like to think my skills and knowledge are above average..(not my ego.. i dont have much of an ego, this is from what partners and supervisors tell me, i think they'll just making me feel good, but hey, who knows ) but I feel that EMS programs in general these days are very much lacking in true instruction. They bring people into a paramedic program, and they teach them to memorize the algorithms...and teach them how to start an IV, how to read a computer generated EKG, and how to intubate, and how to rattle off what conditions you use different medications for... but I notice they rarely teach them critical thinking skills, and good solid assessement skills, and how to form a true differential diagnosis. The result is a brand new paramedic who gets on a truck, and seem to be little more than technicians who perform skills when people meet the criteria, rather than TREATING the patient.

Here is an example... you respond for a patient with trouble breathing, you get there, and the patient is wheezing, has a blood pressure of 180/110, SpO2 of 85% room air, and has a known history of COPD. These robot medics as i like to call them, would put them on high flow oxygen, and give them albuterol, and then watch as they go into a flash pulmonary edema, and then treat that with lasix, and then drive fast to the ER while wondering what the hell happened.... where as a medic with critical thinking skills might look at other things, such as the presense of pedal edema, and do a decent assessment of the patient, including history of the illness, asking things such as how do you sleep at night... do you need to sleep sitting up... etc... and be able to realize they are dealing with a new onset CHF and treat them with nitrates and CPAP.

With that said... i realize that some of that comes with field experience and experience on the job, but at the same time, thats an unacceptable excuse. I believe more time should be spent on doing a very thorough assessment, and getting a good history of the illness, social history etc, and doing critical thinking. I also truly believe that medic students should be spending as much time with a Doctor, or a PA as they do with the nurses, if not more, learning the same critical thinking skills and assessment skills they use.

I feel that these steps would also lead to a higher level of professionalism in our profession, as well as more respect as practitioners from our colleges in the hospital.

I guess my biggest problem going into education, is that I wouldn't be allowed to teach these students to the level that they should be, because most paramedic schools these days are nothing more than medic mills, turning out people capable of passing the NREMTP exam in the shortest time they can, so they can collect money from another class of 30 or 40 and keep making money.

Continuing education is also an issue with me. Many times its an exact repeat of the same things you learned previously, for example, every time you renew your ACLS, you cover the changes to ACLS, and then go over pretty much just the same things you did with the last renewal. Obviously skills and knowledge remediation is important, but I think continuing education should also be used to expand our knowledge beyond those basic concepts, and that is something I have rarely seen in our field.

I just feel many times that our profession could be doing so much more, and be contributing so much more than we do, and many times we are hindered by the old concept of "this is how its always been" and the fact that people dont like change. I feel that change is essential in our field, and while many things we have done and currently do have changed, ( for example, we dont give 2 amps of bicarb first line to every cardiac arrest anymore, and we now have CPAP and Drug assisted intubations) I feel that there needs to be a greater change in what we do and how we do and how we educate if we want to see our profession grow and change in a positive way in the next century.

Some of you might disagree with me, and I would like to hear your arguments against what I have stated in my post.
 
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Veneficus

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let me make sure I uderstand what you are saying

The two teachers I hated the most were my basic instructor and my paramedic instructor.

My basic because he was more intrested in coming up with off the wall stuff to show us

You ought to meet on of my IM profs. I swear he makes diseases up or read the 2 volume of Harrison's enough to commit it to memory. Probably the latter. Sorry, just commiserating.

My paramedic because he had spent more time behind a desk than on the street and would become irrate when you pointed out his flawed teaching. I also had him for an intermediate class and he relied heavily on power point and student information discs. The information never went together with what we on and he always said if we could prove he didnt teach it or give it to us on a disc he would credit the points back on a test. I never got less than an A due to that.

The best teacher I had was my intermediate instructor. She knew her material and knew how to teach us. She used real life experiences not to share war stories but would make them into interactive scenarios for us to learn from. I remember on the day of one of our finals the entire class failed. I came closest to passing with a 78. She cried and took it as a personal failing on her part. She felt that she hadnt given us the info we needed. On the retest, after many hours reviewing with her, we all passed. It wasnt her fault, it was the moron who made the test.

So if I understand, the paramedic teacher was also the intermediate teacher and probably the one making up the tests was a lead instructor, the program director, or some other such title?

Did he have intensive street time, such as in a high volume system or an academic credential that demonstrated his mastery of the material?

The female teacher You felt had more substance and liked the style better?


Which would you say helped you pass your registry or state test more?

Did the repetition of the material in the form of premade PPT. have any positive contribution?


Did the interactive scenarios help you learn the core curriculum material? (some medical schools are moving more towards this method, called "problem based learning," but it is highly structured and requires very small groups of usually no more than 8, as well as very independant learning students. I am not convinced most paramedic students I have met would be able to do this effectively.)
 

Medic744

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You ought to meet on of my IM profs. I swear he makes diseases up or read the 2 volume of Harrison's enough to commit it to memory. Probably the latter. Sorry, just commiserating.



So if I understand, the paramedic teacher was also the intermediate teacher and probably the one making up the tests was a lead instructor, the program director, or some other such title?

Did he have intensive street time, such as in a high volume system or an academic credential that demonstrated his mastery of the material?

The female teacher You felt had more substance and liked the style better?


Which would you say helped you pass your registry or state test more?

Did the repetition of the material in the form of premade PPT. have any positive contribution?


Did the interactive scenarios help you learn the core curriculum material? (some medical schools are moving more towards this method, called "problem based learning," but it is highly structured and requires very small groups of usually no more than 8, as well as very independant learning students. I am not convinced most paramedic students I have met would be able to do this effectively.)

Actually the paramedic teacher also taught Intro to Advance Practice for the EMTIs and unfortunately is also the program director. He and the MD for the program made up the tests. I have no idea how he got the job. Im not sure when he was actually on a unit last but while he was he was in a high call area, but old school. Im fairly certain he just accumulated enough letters behind his name to get the spot.

The female teacher was more helpful in passing NREMT. It took almost 2 yrs following the completion of EMT P class and rotations for me to study and practice on my own enough to have the confidence to test NREMT. With the other instructor I tested within 2 months and passed everything the first time.

The only thing useful on the student disc was a copy of one of final exams...with the answers. I stumbled across it while studying and studied it as a reference for what he was looking for answer wise. There was no rhyme or reason to any of his testing so I needed the help. Still had to take the test twice so guess it didnt really help that much.

The interactive scenarios were extremely helpful in not only learning but remembering the material. Its easier for me to do and learn than just read and learn. Im a very hands on learner. Plus they allow you to have the ability to doubt yourself without endangering anyone. For example she would give the scenario and even if you provided care perfectly and without missing anything or going out of order it was still possible for your pt to "die." She did this to me with a motorcycle accident victim. I called for and performed everything perfect and yet my pt died. It actually happened to her.

Some people have no place teaching but some who teach because they love EMS and are no longer physically able to be on the street can be a wonderful thing.
 
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Veneficus

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From my experience.. typically the best medics out there in the field rarely go into teaching.. they're too busy loving their job. Thats of course not the case with everyone.. but it seems to be more of the general trend than the exception to the rule....

My experience has been just the opposite, the best medics and doctors are involved in education. But education is not the only thing they do. I would rather be seeing patients than teaching, but I also would like new people to not be worthless as well.(makes life a lot easier) But I have seen what goes on in many medic mills, so I conclude that my observations are probably in the minority and agree it is the trend.

It also seems like a majority of the time that people go into teaching either because they cant cut it in the field, or get so burned out that they want to do something different.. again, not the rule, just an observation on my part from years of EMS in many different locations.

I find this in stark contrast to other medical professions. But like I said, my experience has been different. I have noticed though that many EMS educators are moved from the field setting, not because they weren't good at it, but injuries and age prohibit them from functioning in the field capacity but they still have many contributions. A rare few simply love to teach.

I've thought about going into teaching, but im hesitant. I've done part time instruction in the past, and its enjoyable, but I still very much love running calls, and I'd like to think my skills and knowledge are above average..(not my ego.. i dont have much of an ego, this is from what partners and supervisors tell me, i think they'll just making me feel good, but hey, who knows ).

I'd like to think I am not too bad at taking care of patients ;)

but I feel that EMS programs in general these days are very much lacking in true instruction. They bring people into a paramedic program, and they teach them to memorize the algorithms...and teach them how to start an IV, how to read a computer generated EKG, and how to intubate, and how to rattle off what conditions you use different medications for... but I notice they rarely teach them critical thinking skills, and good solid assessement skills, and how to form a true differential diagnosis. The result is a brand new paramedic who gets on a truck, and seem to be little more than technicians who perform skills when people meet the criteria, rather than TREATING the patient.

I certainly agree, I also have some thoughts on what causes this. First is having experienced but usually not educated people teaching. "You don't need any of that book learnin" mentality.

Another contributing factor is the changing curriculum. There is much more basic science involved now than in the past. Many instructors have no background in this material. How do you teach something you don't nderstand yourself?

Adding material but not increasing time is another issue. There is so much new to cover, in the same time constraints as was allocated 10 or 20 years ago. In order to make sure all material is covered paramedic education has become a series of random, disconnected, facts to be memorized. It is impossible to coach people to critical decision making by wrote memorizaton. There are solutions. (I tell students to read before coming to a lecture. My lecture is connecting those dots. If you come expecting to hear what you should have read in the book, you will not be happy.) BUt this then puts the onus of learning on the student. As my afore mentioned favorite instructor pointed out. Quality has decreased. Younger generations are taught to the proficency test. Then they come to college expecting to be taught to the exam. Embracing this mentality is a lucrative business. Most new people will choose a 6 month course taught to the test with a 90% pass rate then a longer often more expensive course that ultimately turns out more capable providers. This has a simple solution also, agencies could stop hiring from the Mills.

Here is an example...

Cut for brevity. Again I fully agree. But you see the bullet points. Wheeze, low spo2, the pattern is formed, and the treatment for that pattern is initiated. It is oversimplified education. There is no excuse for it, but it is the fact.

With that said... i realize that some of that comes with field experience and experience on the job, but at the same time, thats an unacceptable excuse.... I believe more time should be spent on doing a very thorough assessment, and getting a good history of the illness, social history etc, and doing critical thinking.

Exactly! Nobody should even get to the field untill they can demonstrate a proper assessment. The NR skill check sheets are not a proper assessment. But again, unless you increase instruction time, (which inversly affects enrollment that keeps your doors open and food in your mouth) Nothing will change.

I also truly believe that medic students should be spending as much time with a Doctor, or a PA as they do with the nurses, if not more, learning the same critical thinking skills and assessment skills they use..

Again I agree, and I was fortunate in my own experience to do so, but before you can waste the doctor's time with students who frankly don't know crap, you need to prepare your students to interact at an acceptable level with a physician. They should be refining a students practice, I doubt you will find one in a clinical environment who can be expected to start from the ground up.

I feel that these steps would also lead to a higher level of professionalism in our profession, as well as more respect as practitioners from our colleges in the hospital.

For certain.

I guess my biggest problem going into education, is that I wouldn't be allowed to teach these students to the level that they should be, because most paramedic schools these days are nothing more than medic mills, turning out people capable of passing the NREMTP exam in the shortest time they can, so they can collect money from another class of 30 or 40 and keep making money.

Depends on where you work. I can talk about anything I choose within the alloted time as long as the core material is presented, and I get to choose the form it is presented in as well. But if you cover something very basically and go home early or break for skills, that is the failure of the instructor, not the program. There is more than enough material to fill the time unless your organization operates with razor thin margins. Then it is the fault of the program.

Continuing education

Again cut for brevity. This is beyond the scope of this thread, and I could not properly reply in 500 words.


Some of you might disagree with me, and I would like to hear your arguments against what I have stated in my post.

There are always outliers, but I think you are accurate for a majority of what is out there. We have identified the problems, and put forth solutions which are resisted. But on the lower level, and thread topic, what can the individual instructor do to make things better?
 
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mycrofft

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How about this radical idea for EMT-B

1. Hire excellent adult instructors who are ignorant about EMS, give them the best teaching and reference materials, and give them the mission of passing as many people as they can, the final being the NREMT. (Class size: TEN). Students: prepreq classes in basic level anatomy, physiology, public health, nuts and bolts psychology (no Feudian references) and first aid/CPR.
2. Use experienced people for mentoring in the field, or guest lecturers.
3. Do NOT hire people becuase they are experienced EMS'ers. If anything, that is a point off. Hire people who are professional educators to teach.

Who am I starting to sound like now...hmmm....;)

Down with bullies, down with war story specialists like me. You can get the frosting on the job, you need the basics in class and the instructors need to be accountable.

Pay for your class with a credit card. If the instruction is whack, decide quickly then cancel payment and withdraw under protest demanding refund.
 

Ridryder911

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One of the most misunderstood ideas is that a great medic will automatically make a great instructor. The same thinking that has doomed EMS that great Paramedics make great supervisors and EMS Administrators, when in fact most very successful EMS Administrators have no or very little EMS experience and clinical knowledge.. it's a business.

Now, let's distinguish the difference between an instructor and a educator. Yes, there is quite a bit of difference. Yes, one should have clinical experience and hopefully that the experience is diverse and have extensive clinical contacts. Just because one works at a large busy service automatically give good clinical experience as the same working at a rural low volume can be really accounted because they "placed time" in the field.

Unfortunately, EMS is one of the only health care professions that does not require professionals to teach the course.

Ironically, to teach little Johnnie to color between the lines require the minimum of a bachelors degree but to teach how to perform crich, chest decompression, ECG's ... only usually requires a 39 hour course. What should we expect?

How much education does those that teach really have in adult education? Again, in comparison to almost all other health care professionals that require their educators to have at the least a graduate/masters degree to a doctorate level, ours require a two week course....Wow! Then we gripe?

Let's get rid of instructors for the base line education and place educators in place. Place instructors for the field level as in FTO's and preceptors .. more training level and clinical evaluation.

As well, let's prepare student EMT's not accepting everyone. Require reading levels, prior science classes and general education as so they will be prepared to take the course and succeed. Then compare what students think the instructors should know or how to teach.
 

rescue99

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One of the most misunderstood ideas is that a great medic will automatically make a great instructor. The same thinking that has doomed EMS that great Paramedics make great supervisors and EMS Administrators, when in fact most very successful EMS Administrators have no or very little EMS experience and clinical knowledge.. it's a business.

Now, let's distinguish the difference between an instructor and a educator. Yes, there is quite a bit of difference. Yes, one should have clinical experience and hopefully that the experience is diverse and have extensive clinical contacts. Just because one works at a large busy service automatically give good clinical experience as the same working at a rural low volume can be really accounted because they "placed time" in the field.

Unfortunately, EMS is one of the only health care professions that does not require professionals to teach the course.

Ironically, to teach little Johnnie to color between the lines require the minimum of a bachelors degree but to teach how to perform crich, chest decompression, ECG's ... only usually requires a 39 hour course. What should we expect?

How much education does those that teach really have in adult education? Again, in comparison to almost all other health care professionals that require their educators to have at the least a graduate/masters degree to a doctorate level, ours require a two week course....Wow! Then we gripe?

Let's get rid of instructors for the base line education and place educators in place. Place instructors for the field level as in FTO's and preceptors .. more training level and clinical evaluation.

As well, let's prepare student EMT's not accepting everyone. Require reading levels, prior science classes and general education as so they will be prepared to take the course and succeed. Then compare what students think the instructors should know or how to teach.

Where'd you find an I/C course that is two weeks long? The line must be pretty long to get in there, eh?
 
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Ridryder911

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Actually, the National EMS Instructor Course..

R/r 911
 

Ridryder911

EMS Guru
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Ouch! I've read a bit but didn't pay attention to just how short the highly promoted course is....

Yeah, it's sad... part of the major problems within our profession.

R/r 911
 

Hal9000

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I've seen a lot of bad "educators." Most of them had no formal education in medicine, and no formal education in education. That's why I am pursuing/completed both. I think that educators should understand things such as zones of proximal development.

I also highly recommend a good college course in educational psychology to anyone planning on becoming an educator. Mine was one of the most valuable courses I've ever taken.
 

mycrofft

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AmRedCross has a course sort of.

One of two prereq classes to earning their CPR instructor certification is about teaching adults. However, my instructor wasn't very good at it. No fooling, nice guy good role model except not an organized instructor.

I knew Rid would come out for this one.
 
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