William The Coroner’s Forensic Files

Thursday, 6, November, 2008

It’s Been Good

Filed under: Uncategorized — williamthecoroner @ 23:25

This week was good on the teaching front.  I am really lucky, as the vast majority of my students want to be in class and are interested in what we’re doing.  Every once in a while, I do get some good feedback.  I never get all that much, but once in a while someone does let an administrator know that they enjoyed class.  This beats the heck out of hearing what a crappy prof I am.  Someone said I “know the material with, just enough bar trivia to make things interesting.”  I can deal with that.

I must say, I do appreciate the eager students who sit in the front row, and the ones who are eager.  It makes my job easier.  I don’t think that my courses are the most important courses that my students will ever take (in the grand scheme of things, they’re probably not, in fact) but I do appreciate eager.  Eager is so much better than indifference.  I’d prefer loathing to indifference, really.  One individual takes the cake for eager, this person had had a health problem, and left this person in a bad way.  I didn’t get whining, I didn’t get a request for an extension (which I’d have been perfectly willing to grant.  I didn’t even know there was a problem until the disability office let me know.  But the person is back, and got right with the program.  That’s really gratifying.

It’s also great when people raise their game.  Some folks have a tenuous grasp of things, or take longer.  But it really is like that PBS commercial where the blue sparkly light goes from person to person, and they GET it.  I love to see it when the students get it, particularly if they’d been having problems.  It may not be full-bore enlightenment, just a small satori, but it is nice all the same.

Finally, it’s nice to be able to give students an opportunity that they wouldn’t ordinarily have.  On election day, I took my graduate students in to see an autopsy.  I was hoping for a good illustriative trauma case, but it was a natural.  OK, I think that’s sort of ho-hum, after hundreds of naturals.  But for the students, this was the first time with an un-embalmed body.  Not like the gross lab at all.  It was worth the wait.  And it helped fulfill the objectives, and they know why it’s not like it is on TV.

And today, I took the class to the range.  We started with the .22, moved on to the .38 and the .45, and finished up with the shotgun and the rifle.  The class did split on gender lines.  The women seemed much more frightened and hesitant, where the guys were much more outgoing (and one fellow brought his own .357.  But everyone got to try each weapon at least once.  I had another instructor helping me with the more advanced folks, and a old student showed up to help out.  This really made things go smoothly and was a real help.  Finally, though, everyone loosened up.  They understand why it’s not like it is on TV, they understand what firearms can do and NOT do, they know why you don’t hold an automatic out flat in front of you (the brass flies up and hits you in the face, among other things).  Several also expressed the sentiment that they wanted a cigarette after shooting the .45.  Yeah, it is that intense.

I’m never sure how much people retain after I’m done.  I hope it’s more than the bar trivia.  Sometimes I think my contribution to medical education is “Blue is BAD”, “the Hippocampus looks like a jelly roll” and the range experience.



  1. Thanks again for allowing me to join in the fun. I really enjoyed getting back into the range. Now I am REALLY starting my search for a handgun to purchase (oh, and actually going and getting my CCW permit).

    For my future reference, what are the makes of your .22 and .45 (although I understand if you’d rather not post it here)? Your rifle was amazing and it is definitely a great addition to your collection! Thanks for bringing your new “toy” along.

    Overall, it was a great experience (again).

    Comment by mholzmann — Friday, 7, November, 2008 @ 00:52 | Reply

  2. There are many reasons why you are such a popular teacher for doctors to be. Range night is but one of them.

    Comment by brigid — Friday, 7, November, 2008 @ 06:41 | Reply

  3. That’s terrific and really says a lot about you as an instructor, which I’ve already told you, but still. Perhaps your style also contributes to the eager nature of some of your students?

    Comment by Steph — Friday, 7, November, 2008 @ 23:50 | Reply

  4. Prof, it seems to me you are a Teacher. It’s not something you do, but something you are. It’s a rare creature, it is… and to be respected when found.

    Comment by Carteach0 — Saturday, 8, November, 2008 @ 07:50 | Reply

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