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For me teaching is about relationships.  This includes my relationship with the content I offer, of course.  Even more, it is the building of relationships with students.  That does not necessarily mean that I will, now or in the future, be close friends with those that come through my classroom, although that does happen.  But it should mean that we re able to build a relationship of mutual trust.  And it is at this time of year that I begin to see the fruits of that.

Thursday was our school's annual college fair.  Ever since 1998 I have represented Haverford College, my alma mater, at that fair.  And there are two parts to my presence beyond the hope that I might encourage some students from my school to apply to that highly competitive institution, whether or not they have had me as a teacher.  The first is the number of former students who stop by and ask me, sometimes in shyness, if I would be willing to write recommendations for them as they apply to colleges.  And he other is the number of my current students who come to the fair - remember, most of my current students are tenth-graders.  Let me explain about both of those below the fold, starting with the latter.

I want ALL of my students thinking about their futures.  For those in my Advanced Placement (college level) classes, going to college is almost always a given.  In the years I taught government in 9th grade (and thus did not teach AP), those in my honors classes were similar:  most were in our school's highly competitive Science and Technology program.  And I can think of only one who did not go directly to post-secondary education:  for financial reasons she chose to go directly into the Navy.  

But even for these intellectually gifted students, knowing that they will be heading off to some institution is not the same as taking action to explore the possibilities.   And while about 90 percent of the seniors will immediately enroll in post-secondary education, I have students who will be the first in their families to go to college, and I have others who are not really focused on their academics, and only by encouraging them to think of the future can I hope to connect what is happening at our very good high school with their long term future.

This was an odd week.  The day after our Fair there were no classes:    Maryland schools were all closed for the Maryland State Teachers Association convention, and meetings of various state-wide content area associations, such as The Maryland Council for the Social Studies.  The day before all of our 10th and 11th graders sat for the PSAT paid for by the school system, 9th graders either paid for the real PSAT or sat for a practice one, and our seniors had a long meeting - a class picture, talking about graduation and prom.  This was also spirit week, with students competing by classes, wearing crazy costumes.  We had short classes on Thursday, so that we could have a 90 minute pep rally.  Yesterday was our homecoming, with a big football game and last night a homecoming dance.  At the same time as the week is full of excitement, it is clear that we are trying to get our students to think about their futures.  And in that regard, I do two things.

First, The week before last I gave all my students a one-period crash course in SAT prep:   I used to teach and tutor for several different SAT prep companies, and if the devotion of one period can demystify, and perhaps enable each student to get a handful of additional questions correct, it is worth it.  But the key thing is that I give any student who comes to the college fair extra credit.  It is not much, equal to perhaps 1-2% of the total for my class for this, the first marking period.  

Some might object.  What, they might inquire, does that have to do with learning government?  I would respond that it is a great deal.  Exploring the alternatives they will have a few years hence (although for a few of my students, they are seniors which means they will need to apply soon)helps them take their academic work more seriously.  And remember this:  I teach not only the specific content of government, but also vocabulary, critical reading, making arguments both verbally and in writing.  I work on their writing skills, on how to take notes, and on how to prepare for a variety of examinations, including the required-for-graduation state High School Assessment and for my AP students the exam from the College Board that will determine if they get college credit.

Fewer of  my non-AP students show up, which given that they are all local, in the town in which we are located, might seem surprising.  Still, each one who does come is demonstrating motivation, curiosity. And if by offering credit I encourage an additional handful or two, that might be almost a dozen more who are thinking of their futures.  And since most don't drive, unless their parents or a neighbor can provide transportation, it may seem like an

I teach  total of 185 students (two withdrew this week, and I had one transfer in to my classes).   Those who want the extra credit have to stop by the Haverford table and check in with me.  Just under a third of my students showed up.    Very few wanted to talk about Haverford, and even those who did, I kept it brief, gave them literature, and suggested they move on:  after all, if they have more questions they do know where to find me, and this was an opportunity to get information about many colleges. This year we had over 100 present, many quite prestigious, drawn by the superb reputation of our high school.  Many of the reps were, like me, alumni. For example, Princeton was represented by a woman whose daughter I taught two years ago, and whose son is one of my current students.  But there were also people from admissions offices from places nearby  (Johns Hopkins, U of Maryland College Park, American U, Catholic U0, and far (Cornell, several of the colleges in Atlanta University, the black college consortium).  We had representatives from the famous, including Harvard and Stanford, and the lesser known:  Clark University in Worcester MA is the only US institution to have had either Sigmund Freud or Carl Jung lecture, and the hundredth anniversary of that is 2009.  

This is the time of year when seniors are working on their college applications.   The daughter of the woman from Princeton had already asked me to write recommendations for her - that is one of my tasks for today.  Several other students had previously contacted me.  At the fair I had another 8 seniors ask if I would, only one of whom is a current student.  When I am asked, I usually engage in a dialog.  If it is a current student who is doing well, I will still inquire as to why they think someone who has taught them for less than half a year is a better recommender than someone who taught them all of last year.   For those I taught as sophomores I will want to know why me rather than someone who taught them more recently. Usually I get some form of one of the following

"You know me better than any other teacher"

"I grew so much in your class"

"You can help explain me to colleges"

"I trust you to be honest about me"

If I have doubts that a letter from me will be helpful - look at that last point above - I will explore that with the student.  In most cases if the student still wants my recommendation, I will take the time to write it.

For some students I may write only one recommendation, to a college with which I have some connection:  I did my undergraduate at Haverford, which meant I took courses also at Bryn Mawr, I have a masters from Johns Hopkins, I have taken additional courses at Penn, Catholic, and George Washington, and am currently getting credit from UVa for my political leaders program.  In addition, I know Harvard quite well, as my wife and I were dating all four years she was there, and both of my parents went to Cornell.  Any of my students applying to these colleges knows that I will write a letter explaining why I think s/he is a good fit for that particular college.

One of the real joys is to see how much my students grow during high school.  One reason I used to love teaching government in 9th grade was that I could follow students for three additional years, but it made more sense for them to have the second year of American History before they took government, so now I only get two additional years.  Often some students come around to talk with me, to ask about particular colleges, to to inquire if I have any ideas about places they should consider, given their interests.  I am honored when they ask, and will always make time.

And the real delight will come in the future, when they stop by to tell me they have been accepted and to thank me for the recommendations, at which point I will tell them my recommendation ws only one additional window on who they are, and that they got in on their own merits.  Later, particularly when they are college freshmen, they will often stop by when home from school. I may ask them to talk with current students:  it helps make the connection between my current students' work and their futures.  Every now and then I get announcements or even invitations to graduations and senior presentations from college, just as I get invited to senior presentations in high school.  I try to chat with my former students when I see them around the school: the relationship does not end when they leave my classroom, even if our contact may become somewhat more minimal.  Some stay in touch via email.  

Others move on with their lives, which is fine.  I will see most of them on graduation day, either as they line up before processing in, or as they re picking up their real diplomas (we give them an empty holder on stage) after graduation is complete.

This year was a special treat.  The representative from the University of Virginia was one of our graduates.  Ginger played goalie for soccer and lacrosse while she was here, and got a partial scholarship to UVa for the latter.  I have occasion to be at UVa once or twice a year, and while she was a student we got together several times for breakfast, or I would stop by and chat while she was at her campus job in the college bookstore.  I have known her since she was a freshman: she was one of two varsity goalies while I coached the girls JV that year.  And she was my student in an upperclass elective in Social Issues in which I really challenged students' preconceptions about controversial issues.  We had a brief, but enjoyable chat, before the fair started, and made sure to exchange current emails to to stay in touch.  And I sent a number of students over to talk with her, both because UVa might be a good fit for them, and because I wanted them to have some idea of what they could look forward to as a graduate of our high school.  

We are now at the most intense part of our political season.  Most of the diaries here will rightly be about candidates and elections and tactics and polls and news coverage.  But we should never forget that the purpose of our political participation should be for something other than merely gaining control of the levers of political and governmental power.  The purpose of our wanting control should be because we want to improve the lives of people, we want our society to be a more hopeful place, our nation to restore its sense of honor.  I participate politically because I care about all of that, especially because for 180+ school days each yearI am with adolescents who will be the future of this nation.  I have no biological children, unless one considers the various four-footed creatures who allow Leaves on the Current and me to share their living space.  Of the 2,800 students currently in our school I have taught, worked in musical theater, coached, or advised in the Muslim Students Association, close to 700.  And I know many others:  they are siblings or close friends of students who have passed through my care.  My political passion comes from a desire that they have at least as great an opportunity as I experienced, that they can look forward to a society, a nation, a world that still allows them to dream, to have hope.  Looking  forward to college is in itself a commitment, a belief in a future, a time of hope and dreams and anticipation.  Thus it seemed appropriate for me to write this diary at this time.

We are less than a quarter through the current school year.  Even with a three-day weekend, I am tired.  But I look back on this week, especially on Thursday night, and I find my exhaustion melting away, and I smile:  the students now considering college will be contributing to a better world well after I pass away.  The hope and anticipation they have, which they share with me, are such joys.  And that is in large part why I am here, and on phones, and knocking on doors when I do, and wearing Obama paraphernalia, and engage in conversations with others about the future.    

This is a major part of my world.  Thank you for letting me share it with you.

Peace.

Originally posted to teacherken on Sun Oct 19, 2008 at 03:45 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  mojo mug (47+ / 0-)

    looking back on the week gives some satisfaction, but challenges me to do even more.  And today I will write recommendations for three students, including the young women whose mother was representing Princeton.  Writing those recommendations will give me pleasure.  It will remind me of why I continue to teach - to help make a difference in the lives of young people.

    I hope this day is a positive one for you, even if your NFL team loses today.   Peace.

    do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

    by teacherken on Sun Oct 19, 2008 at 03:47:21 AM PDT

    •  From one teacher to another (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      teacherken, cfk

      I so very much appreciate the perspective you bring in your diaries.  As a high school teacher myself, I agree with so much of what you say in regards to the rewards of the profession, letters or recommendation being one of the most rewarding aspects for me as well.

      Keep up the good work.  I work with so many fine men and women who feel the same way you do about educating young people and I'm proud to call myself their colleague.

  •  I hope there are still teacher like you... (5+ / 0-)

    by the time my son's in high school. I guess that will depend on who wins this November.

  •  Ken, what do you think about how colleges are (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, bronte17, ER Doc, Wisteacher

    becoming much more competitive now than just a few years ago? My two daughters graduated 5 years apart with almost identical grades and scores. Except my first was number 30 out of 500, my second was valedictorian of a class of 50.

    Even so, daughter number two was rejected by many of the schools she applied to while daughter number one was accepted by all schools she applied to.

    I know students are encouraged to apply to more and more schools, which makes rejection rates soar, which means students need to apply to more schools to have a shot at one.

    Anyway, it's a tough world out there, as we can attest to. Good luck to your students. (Daughter Number One is now teaching high school, after five majors--none of them education. She's the kind of teacher Obama says we need.)

    •  unfortunately partly driven by US News (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bronte17, khloemi, ER Doc, Wisteacher

      which uses as one criteria for ranking the percentage of students accepted, with lower being "better".  Thus colleges encourage more to apply, even though they are taking no more.

      Haverford admits around 25% of those who apply.   That number has dropped from about 32% less than a decade ago.  When I applied for admission for the class of 1967, I applied to 7 colleges.  Most of my high school classmates applied to only three or four: one "reach", one or two solid, and one "safe."   I have students who now apply to more than a dozen.  It feeds on itself.

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sun Oct 19, 2008 at 03:59:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, that's why I liked the Washington Monthly (4+ / 0-)

        rankings, which ranks colleges for what the give back to society.

        And that's why daughter number two chose Smith, their number one ranked school! (Actually, they also gave her a scholarship, which helped her decision making tremendously! College tuition is a whole 'nother subject!)

        •  Smith is a good school (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bronte17, khloemi, KFlake, ER Doc

          but let me tell you about Haverford on that score

          one reason our endowment is not bigger is that so many of our alums have worked in areas of service.  Yes, we have our share of people on Wall Street who can give big bucks, and we have some prominent lawyers and doctors and heads of financial organizations.

          But we also produce a large number of teachers, social workers, people who work in governments at all levels.

          Haverford still has distribution requirements, which include Quantitative Reasoning, Social Science, Humanities,Natural Science, and Social Justice.  Note the last.  And here's a link which shows examples of some of the courses that fulfill that requirement.

          Peace.

          do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

          by teacherken on Sun Oct 19, 2008 at 04:28:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Didn't know that. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            teacherken, ER Doc

            DNT is majoring in Engineering, and Smith has the only women's college engineering program. But Haverford sounds like an excellent school--if I had another daughter I'd send her that way!

            •  send only to see if it makes sense (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ER Doc

              I tell my kids to try to visit a college they really want to attend on a weekday when it is in session.  They can often tell in an instant if it will be a fit.  Whereas if they only visit on vacations when students are not around, or on weekends when they are not in classes, they may get a very different perspective.

              And I have had conversations with parent who were pushing too hard for kids to attend a particular school.  Some of those have not been comfortable, but my concern was always to advocate for the student, and because I have also tried to build relationships with the parents, I am sometimes able to speak more directly than some other teachers.

              Peace.

              do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

              by teacherken on Sun Oct 19, 2008 at 06:08:09 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  I tell my students (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        teacherken, stagemom

        to think "1-2-4-2-1": If you apply to 10 colleges, then make one of them your dream school -- the one you'd choose to attend if you were twice as smart, twice as rich and twice as good-looking. Next choose two schools that you think represent the absolute limits of your academic reach, like the Frisbee that you can catch, just barely, if you leap for it. The next four should be schools that you're fairly confident that you can get into and fairly certain that you can succeed at, without selling yourself short. Two should be schools that are a little less competitive -- you know you can get in -- but offer something special that would make it worth the tradeoff. And the last one is your safety school, if Murphy's Law kicks in and everything that can go wrong does.

        I applied to only three schools, got into all three but had to forgo my No. 1 and No. 2 choices because they offered lousy financial aid packages. If I woke up tomorrow and were in high school again, the 10 colleges I'd apply to are: [1] Harvard, [2] University of Chicago, Columbia University, [4] University of California at Berkeley, University of Washington, NYU, Amherst College, [2] St. John's University, Carleton College, and [1] University of Wisconsin at Madison.

        (If they flat-out can't afford to apply to 10 colleges, they should at least apply to six: one dream school, two limit-pushers, two good bets and one safety with something special. Never let anyone talk you out of applying to the dream school.)

        "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk." --Ian McDonald

        by Geenius at Wrok on Sun Oct 19, 2008 at 05:16:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I actually applied to 7 (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ER Doc

          but let me back up.  Originally, as a sophomore in HS, I thought I wanted to go to St. John's Annapolis.  But by the start of by junior year I wondered if I wanted to go to read great books I had largely already read (silly me, as since then I have reread some of them several times).  I was considering applying to Swarthmore, but my guidance counselor told me that there were students way ahead of me in class ranking who were applying so that I wouldn't get in.  But since I was interested in history, maybe I should look at Haverford, which he as a former social studies teacher thought had a better history department.  As it happened, Haverford was on the old GE College Bowl shortly thereafter, and i was impressed, and it became my first choice.

          I actually wanted to go to a small college, but it was the only one to which I applied.  I applied to 6 universities because I applied for Naval ROTC (go figure, when my first choice was a Quaker College!):  Columbia, Rochester, Michigan, UCLA, Cal Berkeley, and Michigan.  As it happened, I had the highest score in NY State on the exam, but flunked the physical because of my eyes.   North Carolina did not know about the exam and admitted me early.  When I won a National Merit Scholarship, Haverford also sent me my admission early, so I withdrew my applications from the other 5, although Columbia then insisted on sending me a rejection (given family connections, especially with the Music department, I would have been admitted had I really needed it:  the head of the Orchestra had said he would guarantee my admission if I promised to come).  

          I have to say that when UNC accepted me, I was greatly relieved.  I was, despite sky-high SATs, not in the top third of my high school class, and was worried I might not get in anywhere.  When I became one of two (out of ten semifinalists) in my class to win the Merit, I breathed a sigh of relief, because I knew I would have some choices.  And when the Haverford acceptance came, I knew I was going to go there.

          I can empathize with what my students go through as they are applying.   I was fortunate in that my parents did not pressure me.  Both went to Cornell, yet neither my sister nor I applied.   She, two years ahead of me, applied to only 3 schools:  Radcliffe, to which she got waitlisted, Barnard (where she was guaranteed admission:  she had been playing in the Columbia Orchestra as a high school junior and senior). and Sarah Lawrence, to which she went.  Some of my students are restricted by their parents on some applications, ad/or required to apply to other schools.  

          Peace.

          do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

          by teacherken on Sun Oct 19, 2008 at 05:55:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks, TK, for all you do. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, ER Doc
  •  I'm not in education... (5+ / 0-)

    but come from a long line of educators.

    But my job in the past has allowed high school student interns to work in the office.  And currently still allows college interns to gain credit by working in the office (no salary).

    Working with our younger than 21 year old population in the workplace is incredibly rewarding.  I've seen high school interns go on to apply for and get accepted into colleges when they never necessarily thought this was the way they were going in their life. All of these kids are inner city high school kids.  One, I'm particularly proud of pursued her education even though she got pregnant at age 17.  Her plans to enter college was delayed 6 months for the birth of her daughter, however she arranged childcare and started her college classes the next semester.

    Our students are our future.  And I love seeing them grow into thoughtful mature adults.

    It upsets me when inner city kids are oftentimes portrayed as wild and reckless, affiliated with gangs and crime.  Yes, this is a reality and there is a real percentage of kids who get caught up in this route.  But most of the kids have parents who work hard at keeping their kids on the right path - but when the parents are new immigrants, this isn't always so easy for them to understand how to navigate anything in this country.

    Educators like you don't get enough credit!  

    •  Yes, my daughter (0+ / 0-)

      who recently started teaching (special ed kids, mostly, and other struggling students) has said that some of the other teachers have basically given up on the kids she has now. It makes her sad--this is her first year teaching, after a year of subbing. She needs more training, as she wasn't an Ed major, but she sure has enthusiasm.

  •  tipped for joy (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, khloemi, ER Doc, bluesheep

    Wish I could do what you do.
    Alas, most of my students can't go to four year colleges because they are in a modified curriculum.

    Peace.

    •  one can always explore opportunities (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      khloemi, KFlake, ER Doc, miss SPED

      I know that in recent years Haverford has graduated one student who was totally deaf and another who had cerebral palsy. If a student can handle the academic work, perhaps with assistive support or modifications . . .

      of course, we do have students in our public schools for whom that will not be possible.  And one worry is that our K-12 experience is becoming so pre-college oriented that we do not appropriate recognize the achievements other students make by completing high school.

      I admire you for the work you do.

      Peace.

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sun Oct 19, 2008 at 04:31:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You're right, some kids (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ER Doc, miss SPED

        just aren't cut out for a 4 year university degree, and should be encouraged to apply to a two year college or given support for vocational training.

        I remember when I graduated, our counseling services were practically nonexistent. It's a huge part of students' success, along with good teachers.

  •  Our family is in the midst of the college search (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ER Doc

    too.  My oldest is a senior and planning to apply to Oberlin early admission.  We looked at Haverford.  I was impressed with the small classes and the unusual opportunities.  But, it always comes down to finding the best match.  For my son, it looks like Oberlin.

  •  There are ads for teachers in the subways (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ER Doc

    in NYC.

    One says:

    You remember your first grade teacher's name.  Who will remember yours?

    A lot of people will remember the name of teacherken

  •  I used to Psychology for the IB program. (0+ / 0-)

    I quit to go back to school and get my PhD.  I really miss teaching high school students.  Watching them grow.  The hope and promise in each student.  It was an amazing job.  I miss it dearly.

    Another proud Clintonista opposing John McCain.

    by psychodrew on Sun Oct 19, 2008 at 05:02:47 AM PDT

  •  I love reading your diaries (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ER Doc

    I really feel like I know you so well-a caring teacher can make the difference between success and failure.  Your students are so lucky.  I always wanted to be a teacher, worked on my Masters in Education-but after moving to this great country 30 years ago, I lost my way and have found myself working in Corporate Tax for the last 20+ years. For generations, my family has been very involved in Education and I have married into a family of educators..In our family, wealth was never money but learning and knowledge.  My oldest son graduated from JHU last year(he got his dream job last year at Merrill)my youngest is a High School senior, in the midst of applying to colleges, wants to be an engineer...I am not sure I have done a very good job in imbibing the value of Education for the sake of education in my children..

  •  Reminds me of home. (0+ / 0-)

    I've been in Germany since '95, and was in CT for 4 yrs undergrad before that, but I went to middle school and high school in Rosemont, and we lived in Bryn Mawr. My first boyfreind went to to Haverford Prep and a few schoolmates of mine went to Haverford (for most it was too close to home!).

    When I read your diary I was flooded by memories of my time in the Main Line area, and the amazing teachers I had. Thanks!

    I remember my AP gov't class well, and all the history and social studies classes before that - the teachers, too. They were always my favorites. I think of them when I explain to my 4th-grader what unions are, how the electoral college works, why was MLK so important. I hear my words come out of my mouth and I hear their voices in my head at the same time.

    I don't teach kids any more because as a single mom with three kids I had no more balance in my life. Now I work with adults and can pour all my passion into my three little democratic socialists, which is really for the best.

    But I do miss teaching!

    I always enjoy your diaries, Ken. Thanks!
     

    •  I lived in Rosement when first dating Leaves (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ER Doc, airmarc, bluesheep

      that's Leaves on the Current, now my spouse.  At that point she was taking a year off between prep school and college, concentrating on doing dance.

      I lived at 10 N Lowry's Lane, just off Lancaster Pike, at the top of the Hill coming from Bryn Mawr heading towards Villanova.

      I go way back, to when the restaurant near the train station was not a fast food place, but rather the Mari-Nay Diner!  My original class at Haverford was '67, although I did not graduate until '73.

      Glad you enjoy what I write.

      Peace.

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sun Oct 19, 2008 at 05:58:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Medicine is also about relationships (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, ER Doc, airmarc

    I loved your piece "teaching is about relationships". Being a physician I can say that is also true about medicine. True, some of our work is technical. However, like teaching, what makes medicine special is the relationships.  In fact, the conveyor-belt approach to medicine doesn't work.  As a physician I am charged with hearing the earliest whispering of disease, listening to stories that are painful, embarrassing or difficult to disclose. Without a trusting relationship all this is shut down.  Continuity of care - having a longterm relationship with patients - develops an ability to go deeper and listen compassionately in a way that goes far further than visits to specialists and emergency departments allow.  Once the diagnosis is made a healing relationship is vital (a partial definition from Webster's Online dict:  fundamentally concerned with or affecting life or living beings: as  (1): tending to renew or refresh the living).  Chronic disease (diabetes, heart disease, alcoholism, depression) all require the guidance of deeply humane doctor-patient relationships.  Medicine can become too preoccupied by guidelines, time and motion efficiency, complex investigatory pathways, chasing incidental findings on  sensitive tests.  This is a bit like teaching to examinations and not educating.  Like teaching, it is the relationships that fulfil the profound sense of vocation in medicine.  Rare illness, clever diagnoses, cost effective treatment, technical accomplishments pale into significance in comparison to the deep satisfaction provided by developing healing relationships with people who have come to me as a physician because they are sick.

    Let us hear from other walks of life and the primacy of building individual relationships.  This orientation can help us heal our world.

    "The Dream of reason did not take power into account" Paul Starr, The Social Transformation of American Medicine

    by donag on Sun Oct 19, 2008 at 05:27:56 AM PDT

    •  relationships have affected my medical choices (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ER Doc, airmarc

      I have been lucky as an adult to have had most of the time a personal physician who was willing to get to know me.  As it happens, I was just in to my doctor for the first time in three years because of a sinus problem, he remembered where and what I taught, and that I had coached soccer (this is the first year I am not coaching).  

      I also have chosen plces where I shop because of relationships, where possible.  I use a local pharmacy for just that reason.  And the only occasions I have had to use a lawyer, for real estate purposes and to set up a trust, it was also a case where I developed a relationship with the person.

      most of all, we have had the same veterinarian since octoer o 1982- 26 years - when we first moved here.   Counting our current rescued felines, he has been with us through 10 pets. We have dealt with the other vets in the practice, but he is a friend, who when he was vice-mayor of the city where he practices (Falls Churc h) tried to get me to teach there, and with whom I often chat about politics:  we do overlap in some social and political circles.

      I think in most professions it can be helpul to see one another s human beings.  

      Thanks for sharing.

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sun Oct 19, 2008 at 06:04:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's a wonderful thing to guide students (0+ / 0-)

    in making these important decisions.
    It's certainly a very small world Teacherken. My daughter has had her eye on Haverford since 8th grade. She just started high school and has a Haverford pennant on her wall. We visited this summer and found everyone to be exemplary human beings. I've enjoyed your posts for some time so it isn't too much of a surprise that you're an alum. We're four years and 5,000 miles away but someday.....she'll be there as part of that "community of individuals."

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