April 4, 2018

Relish the Opportunity to Teach

Enough is enough. No child deserves to die. As a parent who lost a child to cancer, I can relate to those who lost children in the barbaric school shooting in Parkland, Florida. As I looked at the photos of those lost, I reflected on the tragedy. So many lives that could have been and so many stories that were cut short on that dark day in February. I thought about the teachers who were killed. Here are, in essence, strangers who have dedicated their lives to educating other people’s children and helping them become productive members of our communities and societies. In the case of Parkland and other school shootings, some of these strangers gave their lives to protect other people’s children from death by an assault rifle. It left me speechless in awe.

Showing admiration

Teachers are truly special individuals who deserve our admiration and respect. From kindergarten all the way through medical school, residency, and fellowship, my life has been shaped irrevocably by my teachers. After God and my parents, I am who I am today because of my teachers. There is not one teacher I have ever forgotten, and I am forever grateful for their time, dedication, and care for me and my education. Recently, I was blessed to take care of a family member of one of my teachers, and I was filled with so much gratitude that I was able to give back — through my care — a little of the tremendous gift that teacher gave to me.

Welcome the opportunity to teach

Therefore, we should relish the opportunity — should it arise — to become a teacher ourselves to the healthcare students and residents that may cross our paths. Some may regard teaching students and residents as a burden, an added task to the hundreds of things that need to be done in a typical workday. Indeed, having students or residents on service with me does add to my workload. I frequently have to stop and explain what I am doing and thinking. Yet, I was in their shoes once upon a time, and I appreciated all the efforts of the residents and attendings who took the time to teach me. What better way to show gratitude to our teachers than to help teach those who are traversing the same path as us? And if I feel like sighing out of frustration from having to stop and teach, I have to remind myself that being a teacher to students and residents is a golden opportunity to shape the lives of the future providers of healthcare to this country. I pray that no teacher has to ever lay down his or her life to protect the lives of their students. I pledge to choose to relish every chance I have to teach so I can help pave the path for others, just as it was paved for me.

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