The "Macy Sunday off" last year made me think how often my trainees must find themselves in the same situation as I was in, except they might not even have the choice of a day off because I had forced them to either work or study on those days. I might not have done so explicitly, but by showing up on Monday morning and demanding extensive background knowledge about the first case I had established a hidden curriculum. My hidden curriculum was that they should have worked their tails off during the weekend no matter how hard they had worked in the week before or how many shifts they had taken.
One possible interpretation of this contradictory behavior would be that I was a hypocrite, and I think that is not an unreasonable way to look at it. But a more fruitful interpretation would be that it showed me how easy it was for anybody to be totally oblivious about the contexts and intricacies in other people's lives. I was blind to the things that had been going on in my trainees' lives as it had not crossed my mind to cut them some slack.
Maybe that made me a terrible teacher, maybe it did not - there are good arguments to be made about pushing other people's learning experiences past their normal limits. But one thing that it certainly did was make me more considerate and more thoughtful about my learners' lives.
So I'd like to invite you all to ponder a little bit about what you will do today. Maybe start by asking yourself what you would request from a trainee who is in the same situation as you are, and then proceed from there.
Atipong Pathanasethpong, MD, MS
Atipong Pathanasethpong, MD MMSc (MedEd) (Educators ’15, Leaders ‘15) is a graduate of the MMSc in Medical Education Program at Harvard Medical School. Atipong works as an anesthesiologist and medical educator at Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University, Thailand. He is currently active in instructional design and in disseminating cognitive science concepts to his trainees and colleagues. You can reach Atipong via Twitter at @AtipongPath.