Busy couple of weeks

20 May

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, as I participate in Valerie O’Loughlin’s online HAPS-I course and get ready to attend the annual HAPS conference.  Valerie’s course deals with the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL), a subject that should be near to the heart of every one of us who teaches A&P.  Murray Jensen’s latest post on the value of lectures online and classroom time for active learning fits right in with the main ideas of the HAPS-I course, too.  So, I’ve had a lot to cogitate on, particularly since my summer course begins the Monday after HAPS, and I have about 100 students for 2 straight hours a day, 4 days a week for 5 weeks, plus supervising the labs.

It turns out that many scholars in education research have known for years what I’ve personally discovered, that students don’t learn best when we just tell them stuff.  Even telling them in a brilliant, organized, integrated and even entertaining lecture is not optimal for their understanding and retention of information.  Even if they think it is, and get huffy if you ask them to learn things on their own.  It also turns out that reading books isn’t sufficient, either.  I quickly gave up trying to simply read the assignments in Val’s course, and instead started writing outlines of the main points of the chapter.  Hmm, that sounds eerily like something I might have suggested to my own students.

So, I’m eagerly looking forward to 4 days packed with information and strategies to improve my teaching skills.  And, to those that can’t join us in San Antonio, my condolences.  May the anticipation of the next edition of the HAPS-Educator, which will have summaries of the convention sessions, console you.  And, if you have any great ideas for me to implement starting June 1 I’d love to hear from you!

See you in San Antonio!

18 May
A message from the ComCom

A message from the ComCom

The countdown is ON…HAPSters will meet in San Antonio for the Annual Conference in less than a week.  So check these things off your “To Do” list and we’ll see you in Texas!

  1. Download the conference app, which lets you plan your schedule and provides live updates during the conference.  Get the HAPS APP now—everyone’s doing it!  (Thank you Wiley for making the app possible!)
  2. If you’re a First-Timer, you’re going to LOVE IT!  You might want to check out the Annual Conference Guide for First-timers. You’ll find a bunch of helpful information here.
  3. The conference kicks off Saturday night with an Opening Reception (complete with the famous SHIRT SWAP!) from 8-10pm.
  4. First-timers get some special treatment bright and early Sunday morning for a delicious breakfast and camaraderie from the past HAPS presidents as well as the steering committee members.

If you want to see more, check out the 2015 Conference Program.  The week will be packed full of great conversations and LOTS to learn.

See you in San Antonio!

Skully in San Antonio

Let’s go!

A Few Thoughts on the Utility and Futility of Lecture

11 May
A message from HAPS Central Regional Director, Murray Jensen.

A message from HAPS Central Regional Director, Murray Jensen.

Professors of anatomy and physiology have vast stores of knowledge that they spew, via monologues, to well-conditioned students who sit obediently in uncomfortable chairs while feigning attention and sometimes amusement.

I am indeed a critic of lecture.  Historically, lecture has played a central role in all higher education, and especially in the biomedical sciences.  But with advances in classroom technology, such as the scale-up classrooms (http://scaleup.ncsu.edu/), and research on effectiveness of instructional strategies on how people learn science, there is less and less reason to lecture.  Research now clearly shows that students in active learning environments outperform students in the traditional lecture setting (Freeman, et. al., 2014).

But there is still a place for lecture.  YouTube!

Over the past few years I’ve been writing POGIL curriculum for entry level A & P students, and during that time I’ve had the need to review topics such as inflammation, thermoregulation, blood pressure regulation, and many .. many more.   Historically, I would use books for such endeavors, and I do indeed still use books … a bit – but not nearly as much as I used to.  I now do what most all students do – go to the Internet.

It started several months back when I was once again trying to figure out the events that lead up to ovulation; the physiology of the LH surge and, more specifically, the conditions required for the switch from negative to positive feedback.  I first looked at a few familiar textbooks, then a few old notebooks, and finally – well – I just Googled it.

The search, of course, came up with thousands of web pages and hundreds of YouTube videos.  After trying a few different sites and listening to a few different professors, I found someone I liked – Professor Steven Fink from West Los Angeles College.  What caught my attention with Professor Fink is that he “popped” his cheek every time he mentioned the term “ovulation” – just like one of my own biology professors did.  Amazing – that one little bit caused me to pay attention and watch more intently.

Murray learns from Dr. Fink at double time speed during breakfast while reading the newspaper and enjoying his morning coffee!

Murray learns from Dr. Fink at double time speed during breakfast while reading the newspaper and enjoying his morning coffee!

Since that first video on the female reproductive system, I’ve watched several of Dr. Fink’s YouTube lectures (http://www.professorfink.com/), and they’re all good.  The production value may be limited, but Dr. Fink is an excellent communicator with a dry sense of humor and that much desired ability to put the audience at ease – even when the audience is watching on YouTube.

But I must admit I listen to most of his lectures at 2x speed while eating breakfast and reading the newspaper.  That 2x speed function on YouTube is especially handy; 60 minute lectures go by in 30 minutes – sweet!  (It’s like getting out of class early.)  And after teaching A & P for many years I really don’t need to listen to everything – I know most everything Dr. Fink is talking about.  But there are a few topics that catch my attention.  And when they do, I put down the newspaper and coffee, and review the important points once, twice, three times – as many times as it takes for me to figure things out. And I’ve found that the kitchen table, or maybe a comfy-chair, is more suited for learning than the traditional lecture hall.

So thank you, Dr. Fink, for advancing my understanding of human anatomy and physiology.

But wait.  Is this the end of our jobs?  Should every entry-level anatomy and physiology student listen to Dr. Fink?  Should on-line Dr. Fink replace in-person Dr. Jensen?  Is Dr. Fink thinking of world lecture domination? Possession of the golden laser-pointer?

No. We’re still needed.

Every HAPS member is regularly in charge of 20, 40, 100, 200, and sometimes more, students who are trying to learn a complex topic – human anatomy and physiology.  Learning concepts such as the physiology of ovulation is not easy, and simply saying, “go look at this web site” is terrible pedagogy – especially if it’s the only thing you’re doing.  I’m an advocate of short (10 minute or less) on-line videos that students can access 24/7 – videos that students can watch over and over again, videos featuring the same person that students see in the classroom.  Familiarity here is key.  Your students know you well.  They recognize your voice, your personality, your humor in both the classroom and on videos.  And this familiarity makes learning easier for them – they learn to learn from you.  (This is one reason substitute instructors often fail to promote learning – it takes time for students to learn who they are!  Substitutes cannot just step in and get the job done.)   Of course, it’s always useful to have supplemental materials such as books, journal articles, and web sites like Dr. Fink’s vast collection of lectures.

But don’t go overboard.  On-line learning, for most students, works best when it complements face-to-face educational experiences.  Classrooms and labs are still where the real (conceptual) learning takes place.  This is especially true when classrooms are active learning environments where educators interact with students to pose and solve problems that require inquiry.  But lectures, especially on-line lectures do indeed have a place in student learning.

Reference:

Freeman S, Eddy SL, McDonough M, Smith MK, Okoroafor N, Jordt H, Wenderoth MP (2014). Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America 111, 8410–8415.

Abstract available at www.pnas.org/content/111/23/8410.abstract

In Search of the Core Principles of Human Anatomy: RESPONSE

4 May
Bradley Barger

A message from Bradley Barger, graduate student researching anatomy education.

HAPSters spend a lot of time discussing the teaching and learning of anatomy and physiology.  Last week we had a post from Central Regional Director, Murray Jensen challenging the long lists of required structures in anatomy classes. Bradley Barger, graduate student researching anatomy education, responds.

This post contains two main points-

  1. Anatomy contains physics, sort of. The way anatomy is taught can emphasize this, or ignore this, each approach having some benefit.
  2. The “hot list” of anatomy terms is a bigger challenge than can be answered here, but before including any term on your “hot list” see if it meets at least one (ideally several) of the core principles defined here. Those anatomical structures that align with the core principles can be used as case studies to illustrate the underlying rules of anatomy, even if the deepest level of those rules (physics, chemistry and physiology) are not explicitly taught to students.

The shapes, orientations, and interactions of anatomical structures are all based on physiology. Every structure identified in anatomy exists because of the physiological adaptations of the organism, so understanding the anatomy requires an understanding of the physiology, histology, cell biology and biochemistry, all fields with strong bases in physics. So anatomy may contain physics, it has just been buried under several layers of abstraction (or application).

Anatomy could be taught from a “bottom-up” approach where all the background knowledge of physics, chemistry, and physiology (the “rules” of anatomy) are learned first. In this approach, the anatomy of the organism is just the most visible part that solves all of the physical and physiological problems involved in maintaining life. Anatomy becomes a foregone conclusion once the rules of life have been established. However, anatomy is usually taught from a “top-down” approach. In this approach the anatomy of an organism is learned first, because it easy to see, touch and understand. Oftentimes this approach results in a memorization paradigm, because the “rules of anatomy” (i.e. chemistry, physics, and physiology) have been left out. Without understanding the rules, the anatomy of the organism seems like a needlessly complex series of tubes with arcane names, leaving many students baffled.

Because no anatomy course, or even an entire college career, has the time to teach anatomy from a true “bottom-up” approach, we have developed a series of core principles of anatomy that provide insights into the rules of anatomy, without the need for extensive instruction in physics or physiology. These core principles are designed to emphasize a deeper understanding of anatomy, and avoid the memorization problem that has plagued so many students (and instructors) in anatomy courses.

(Please note, this list is a first attempt at defining core principles of anatomy and was developed largely by myself at the 2014 HAPS annual conference in Jacksonville. I have since been in conversation with many other anatomy instructors and students in an effort to further develop this list, and have gotten some great feedback and recommendations, but we can leave that conversation until San Antonio.)

The core principles-

  1. Orientation– This is perhaps the most basic skill in anatomy and involves knowing which end is up. This skill also includes the relationships of nearby structures, and how they may interact.
  2. Spaces, solids, and coverings (linings)– In anatomy identifying three-dimensional (3D) solids is a relatively easy task. Finding the liver, hypothalamus, or biceps brachii are all easy tasks because they are solid objects that can be seen and touched. But often overlooked are the conceptually more challenging anatomical entities which exist as empty space, or as essentially two-dimensional linings of other structures. Students often struggle to understand the relationships between serous membranes and their cavities and associated organs, for example.
  3. Nomenclature– It has been said that learning anatomy is like learning a language, and the vocabulary is one of the more challenging aspects of this task. Nomenclature is included as one of the core principles because the names of structures are not arbitrary, even though it can feel that way to a novice student. If the names and meanings of words can be taught more explicitly, many of the problems in point 1 (orientation) become much easier to manage.
  4. Macro and microscopic relationships– This principle deals with the rules of anatomy more explicitly than the others, and is a great way to emphasize physiological concepts even in a pure anatomy class that may not otherwise include physiology.
  5. Visual Literacy– This principle deals with the ability to gain information from visual sources. Visual sources can include two-dimensional (2D) drawings, 3D models, or even anatomical remains. Many students do not know how to ‘read’ an image, and even advanced students struggle with converting their knowledge of 2D book images to 3D models or cadavers.

In response to the question about the foramen spinosum, I would argue that it is a good structure to include on the ‘hot list’. Teaching the foramen spinosum offers an opportunity to discuss many of the above principles, and relate those ideas to the rules of anatomy. First, the foramen spinosum is a space, and can serve as a valuable example of anatomical spaces, and their functions. As the foramen spinosum conducts the middle meningeal artery into the skull, it can also be used to teach principles of orientation and illustrate the fact that the skull is not a sealed chamber, but contains many passages for arteries veins and nerves, all based on the physiological needs of the organism. Related to orientation, students can see the groove for the middle meningeal artery leading directly to foramen spinosum, illustrating the interaction between the blood supply and the bones. The foramen spinosum can also be used as an example of nomenclature as its name directly relates to the appearance of the hole. Finally, learning any of the skull foramina teaches about visual literacy in that 2D book images can portray this hole in a variety of ways, and these images will look different to a real or model skull.

A similar argument could be made for nearly any structure chosen, so how does this help us to define the ‘hot list’ of structures that a student should know? Maybe it doesn’t, but it at least allows for each structure taught in anatomy to serve more than one purpose, and hopefully help students to get away from the idea that “anatomy is all memorization.”

In Search of the Core Principles of Human Anatomy

27 Apr
A message from HAPS Central Regional Director, Murray Jensen.

A message from HAPS Central Regional Director, Murray Jensen.

HAPSters spend a lot of time discussing the teaching and learning of anatomy and physiology.  Check out this post from long time HAPSter and Central Regional Director, Murray Jensen.  Murray is trying to generate a bit of controversy about teaching anatomy and long hot lists that we require our students to memorize.  Just how important are all those names and structures?  Look forward to a retort from graduate student Bradley Barger next week.

After 25 years of teaching entry-level anatomy and physiology, I can safely say that I’ve begun to figure a few things out – like the importance of setting high expectations on the first day of class; you have to scare the kids a bit.  All HAPSters know that one.  Another thing I’ve begun to figure out is how to teach human physiology.  This is in large part due to the work of Joel Michael and his group who identified the core principals of physiology  (http://advan.physiology.org/content/33/1/10).    Energy flow, homeostasis, and a few other concepts set the stage for pretty much every topic in physiology.   I use Michael’s core principals to design my course, write curriculum, generate exam questions, etc.  It’s a powerful tool for those of us who teach entry-level physiology. Required Structures ListI also teach basic human anatomy, and after 25 years and a couple thousand students, I can say with confidence that I really don’t know what I’m doing.  I remember vividly the first human A & P course I taught.  Skeletal system .. skull anatomy…hmmm…what structures should be on the hot list?  Ethmoid? Of course. Sphenoid? Obviously.  How about the foramen spinosum?  Should that be on the list? To facilitate the decision process I used Rule One of Teaching – you teach the way you’ve been taught.  In deciding what structures to include on my own hot list, I simply went back to the notes I used as a student, “What did Dr. Ivan Johnson make me learn?” Turns out Dr. Johnson indeed had me learn the foramen spinosum; therefore it must be important, and so it went on my very first hot list for skull anatomy.   Twenty-five years later I still have my students learn the foramen spinosum.  Why?  The best I can do is “because I had to do it!” Blindly following Rule One is not professional.  I would like to do better.  Joel Michael’s core principles greatly improved my ability to teach physiology – his work established an epistemological foundation for physiology education.  Now when a student asks “why do we have to learn about vasopressin?” I can confidently answer that it fits into the bigger picture of how the body works, and vasopressin’s role in the homeostasis of sodium, water, and blood pressure.  Much, much more satisfying than responding, “Well…I had to learn it!” or even worse “Because it will be on the exam.” In the past few years I’ve been pushing my anatomy colleagues for answers.  What should kids learn about anatomy in my entry-level course? What should they learn first?  If a student wants a career in anatomy, what are the themes? What’s at the foundation of a conceptual understanding of human anatomy?  We’ve had some good beginning ideas: orientation, cavities, medical terminology, liquids and solids, layers have promise.  But there is nothing official at this stage – just some good conversations.  And nothing that helps me figure out if I should include the foramen spinosum on the hot list. Identifying the core principles of anatomy is a worthy quest, and HAPS leadership is looking into starting a task force to get things moving.  I’ve been working with Bradley Barger, PhD candidate in Anatomy and Cell Biology at Indiana University, and we’ll be hosting a workshop at San Antonio for others interested in the project. In pondering the task ahead, I think I’ve identified a significant question, but some background is needed first.  Dr. Ernest Rutherford, Nobel Prize winning physicist from way back, has a quote, “All science is either physics or stamp collecting.” I think Rutherford is correct – everything in science boils down to physics.  When teaching human physiology and thinking about Michael’s core principals, I see physics (e.g., diffusion, pumps, gradients, barriers, energy).  If students can comprehend some basic physics, then they can make some good strides toward understanding human physiology. My big question: Is there any physics in anatomy?   At this time I don’t see any physics.  I see terminology, orientation, embryology, and sometimes even design (gasp!) – but I don’t see physics. Disagree?  Disagree strongly? Well…make a list of your own core principles of human anatomy and come to the workshop in San Antonio.  Help me figure out if I should keep the foramen spinosum on my hot list.

The HAPS Foundation…What’s that all about?

20 Apr
A message from Bob Crocker, co-chair of the HAPS Foundation Oversight Committee.

A message from Bob Crocker, co-chair of the HAPS Foundation Oversight Committee.

Many HAPS members, especially those who have recently joined, aren’t aware of what the HAPS Foundation is or the various grants, scholarships, and awards funded through the Foundation and its scholarship partners. We thought it would be a good idea to write a few blogs to insure all HAPS members know what benefits are available to them. This first Foundation blog will provide the big picture. Following blogs will concentrate on the grants, scholarships, and awards in more detail.

In 2009, the HAPS membership voted to establish a Foundation, whose purpose would be to generate funds to be used to provide grants, scholarships, and awards to deserving HAPS members. These awards would support attendance at the annual conferences, provide tuition for HAPS Institute courses, and encourage scholarly activities in our members. A Foundation Oversight Committee was also formed. At the time, there was a separate Grants and Scholarships committee. Subsequently, these two committees were combined to form the current Foundation Oversight Committee.

Since its inception, the Foundation, along with its sponsoring scholarship partners, has funded dozens of awards and accumulated over $50,000 in Foundation endowment capital. Our goal is to grow the endowment to $100,000. To that end, the HAPS Board has committed to funding $5,000 in annual awards going forward to enable all donations to the Foundation to augment the endowment capital.

In this fiscal year, that $5,000 HAPS donation, along with funding from our scholarship partners AD Instruments, Primal Pictures, and Thieme Publishers has made it possible to grant in excess of $10,000 to HAPS members through the following scholarships and awards:

  • HAPS-I scholarships
  • Robert Anthony Faculty Scholarship(s)
  • Adjunct Faculty Scholarship(s)
  • Faculty Grant Award(s)
  • Student Grant Award(s)
  • Graduate Travel Award(s)
  • Sam Drogo Technology Award(s) (funds provided by AD Instruments)
  • Thieme Excellence in Teaching Award (funds provided by Thieme Publishers)
  • Primal Pictures Scholarship (funds provided by Primal Pictures)

To read more about these scholarship and award programs, visit the grants webpage.

Our next Foundation blog will tell you more about each scholarship and how you, as a HAPS member, can apply for them.

Our endowment grows solely through the contributions of our members. Please consider making an online donation. Donations of any amount are welcome- we can all make a difference!

Bob Crocker and Don Kelly, Foundation Oversight Committee Co-chairs

HAPS + Education

15 Apr

I’m at that point in the semester when I really have to start planning for the next terms – both summer and fall – and that makes me dream big at the same time I’m addressing minutiae.  Can I develop the summer test schedule at the same time I’m designing new assignments that will spur deeper learning? Why, yes – yes, I can. In fact, if I don’t start it now, I wont’ have time to get the long-range plans accomplished.  I have to analyze now, while it’s still fresh,what doesn’t seem to be working in this semester’s initiatives, and tweak, or throw out and reinvent, for the brief summer term as well as the new students in the fall.  My first step is to survey this semester’s students to see what resonated with them and what fell flat.  They seem to appreciate videos more than text, and interactive assignments more than straight reading.  Of course, those types of assignments take more time to develop, and I’m constantly looking for inspiration – a new angle, or a new application – along with new technology to record, post, and assess online lessons.

I’ve perused the new edition of the HAPS Educator – a very fine online journal with a variety of articles produced to help us as educators and as science enthusiasts. I’m particularly impressed with examples of HAPS members sharing their tips with their colleagues.  I’ve also attended presentations given by HAPS members at our regional and national meetings, and I always get good ideas, not only from what they present, but also by how they present it.  I’m pondering how we can leverage that into a shared resource, something that we can all tap into when we feel tapped out.

So, I’m looking forward to the HAPS annual meeting in San Antonio at the end of May. We’ll not only get insight into educational research from recognized experts, but also those teaching tips that just smooth our presentations and get our students in the zone.  We’ll experience that electrifying synergy that energizes us all the way home.  We’ll gain lasting resources that will enrich our classes and satisfy our creative sides.  We might even find out what amazing app/software/website is the secret to our students’ success.  I hope to see you there!

The HAPS EDucator Spring 2015 Edition is Here!

13 Apr
A message from the ComCom

A message from the ComCom

The HAPS-EDucator for Spring 2015 is HERE. This members-only perk is available if you log into the HAPS website to view the newest edition.

Articles in this edition include:

Marvels of the Bologna Anatomical Wax Museum: their theoretical and clinical importance in the training of 21st century medical students
By Francesco M. Galassi, Alessandro Ruggeri, Kevin Petti, hutan Ashrafian

A Functional MRI (fMRI) Study Showing Neuroanatomical Correlates of

HAPS2015_Spring_Cover

HAPS-EDucator is the official publication of the Human Anatomy and Physiology Society (HAPS) and is published online three times per year on April 15, August 15, and December 15.

Medical Image Interpretation and Effects of Art Instruction on Visuo-spatial skills in Medical Education
By Elliot Dickerson BS, Caryn Babaian, MC, Med, Kim Curby, PhD, Beverley Hershey, MD, Scott H. Faro, MD, Feroze B. Mohamed, PhD

The Anatomical Landmarks Most Important for Dental Implant Surgery
By Sarah Cooper

Anastomosis: Connecting History and Anatomy Education
By Vinson H. Sutlive

Indentification of Unknown Mammalian Quadruped Bones by Histological Techniques And Bone Morphology
By Olena Prikhodko, Sarah Cooper, and Jennifer Wood, PhD

The Nerve of it All: The BRachial Plexus in 3D. A Workshop Presentation at Central Regional Conference in Cincinnati
By Christine Yu

A Summary of the HAPS Regional Conference in Cincinnati
By Bonnie Richmond, PhD

Living Science

1 Apr A message from HAPS President-Elect, Betsy Ott.

In Texas, the new state guidelines for teaching A&P at the college level include teaching scientific methods and experimental methods.  While I’m sure most of us cover something about the ways of science, I know at my campus we will be expanding our coverage of the experimental methods used by scientists.  This expansion will include experimental activities in lab, but I also intend to introduce examples of current science research in my lectures.  In line with my desire to make course material more personal to my students, I’ve been looking for relevant case studies that showcase the ways of science as well as teaching human physiology.  I think I’ve found what I need…

I’ve been watching “Cancer, the Emperor of All Maladies” this week on PBS.  It’s a riveting mix of historical accounts and vignettes of recent interviews and profiles of cases.  For example, the history of tobacco use, lung cancer, and the politics of marketing are highlighted in more than one episode.  A brief overview of DNA and cell division help clarify the reasons that mutagens are linked to cancer.

I find it particularly insightful in hearing about the investigations into how cancer was treated a generation or two ago.  Assumptions, such as that cancer spread locally (the reason for radical mastectomies), were so entrenched that anyone challenging that paradigm was professionally ostracized.  The clear lesson in adhering to the methods of science stands out in these stories.  The dedication of those scientists who pushed past the dogma to look for other explanations is inspiring. At around the same time, the shift in patient treatment from killing cancer to palliative care gave everyone a different perspective – not only medical personnel, but also the public at large.

Today’s research initiatives, particularly in how to analyze cancer genomes, are mind-boggling.  The cancer genome atlas has revealed a huge number of mutated genes, revealing that not only oncogenes, but also tumor suppressor genes, can mutate and lead to the development of cancer. It’s particularly satisfying to hear renowned scientists explain complicated information with wonderful clarity.  The computer-generated 3-D animations of molecules developed to fight cancer are incredible.  And, while the realization that cancer cells continually mutate, making treatment continually difficult, is hard to accept, at least we continue to add to our knowledge of cellular mechanisms.

Many of the questions raised certainly go beyond basic and applied science, addressing issues of access to, and cost of treatment, and political aspects of research and regulation of carcinogens.  I can send my students to see the episodes for themselves to get the full story, and I’m betting they will be as entranced as I have been.

As with many other fine productions on PBS, there are educator resources available on the website (at http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/cancer-emperor-of-all-maladies/educators/). These include online activities and additional resources.  I hope you’ll enjoy these as much as I plan to.

Thank You.

30 Mar

HAPS is a society focused on the teaching and learning anatomy and physiology, but educators are just half of this equation.  We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for our students.  Check out the fifth post in a series of HAPS blog posts featuring A&P student extraordinaire, Becca Ludwig.  

A message from Becca!

A post from Becca!

“A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning.” – Brad Henry

Being a professor is not an easy job. Professors have a big role in shaping their students to be the people that they are. Everyone has a professor or teacher that they will always remember for some quality. That impression lasts a life time. Some of my most valued professors have fueled my love of learning. They have encouraged me to reach beyond and challenge what my best really is. I know that there is a direct correlation between my success in school and the support from these respected mentors. Because professors have not given up on me, I know that I cannot give up on myself. That lesson is the most important.

Most of the time the job of a professor goes unnoticed and if it is noticed by students, it is often not seen in positive light. Many students get caught up in the grade, grumble about the rigors of the assignment, or how hard the grading was. Instead of complaining, they should look at the positive and reflect on how much they learned by going through the class and how they are a different person because of it. It is not in the students’ mentality to thank their professor for all of the long nights and stressful days, but I feel like this needs to change. Professors often work harder than their students and continually do it semester after semester, yet they don’t complain like we students do.

I wish to extend a “Thank you” to all of my former, current, and future educators for taking the time to work with me and challenge me to be a better learner than I am today. Everyone has something to teach me and every opportunity has a lesson attached.

Thank You!

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