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My Teaching Philosophy


High scores and passing tests are required for acquiring degrees. However, true learning and mastery of veterinary medicine occurs on a physiologic level. True learning is accomplished by activating all of your senses and having a learning experience that becomes integrated into your core memories.

As a teacher, my goal is to exist in a fluid environment where I oscillate between coach, facilitator, subject expert and evaluator.  I believe that students learn best when teaching plans are based on Kolbs experiential learning cycle: first observing, then reflecting and discussing, then actively doing, and ultimately experiencing coaching and repeating the cycle. To create an environment conducive to success, I believe a student needs to be given access to the appropriate resources in a situation where they feel supported through both successes and failures.  Much like an infant talking their first steps, it is the effort extended to achieve that final result that will become hard wired into memory for the student.  Each success achieved by their own perseverance will enrich their confidence.

The following is a list of outcomes that all 4th year students should acquire during their rotation.

  • More fine-tuned tissue identification and tissue handling

  • Auto-ligation of feline pedicle

  • Successful triage, diagnosis and treatment plan for neonatal kitten diarrhea

  • Understanding of current knowledge of feline FeLV, FIV, FIP

  • Know how to write a comprehensive surgery report

  • Understanding of feline and canine behavior, behavior modification techniques, and behavioral medications

  • Learn how to successfully present a case during rounds

  • Gain confidence writing clear, detailed, and concise SOAPs in a busy practice

  • Learn how to concisely communicate with clients and staff

I believe that students learn best by learning in a variety of situations. The following is a list of teaching methods implemented to help students achieve their learning outcomes.

  • Initial self assessment

  • Self study based on list of topics

  • Reflective exercise

  • Watching videos

  • Observing

  • One-on-one discussion

  • Demonstrations

  • Opportunity to perform physical exams and surgeries with in the moment probing questions and feedback

                                                                                                                                                It is imperative that students are not forced to be passive learners but instead they are always paired with a mentor or coach that consistently and actively engages them. This will enable them to constantly build on the knowledge acquired earlier in the rotation.  I chose the examples above because they appeal to a variety of different learning styles.  There are student centered activities, reflections, opportunitites to observe as well as actively experiment, and opportunities to think and analyze material and concepts.

I will conduct assessments consistently in a timely manner throughout the rotation so that students are always aware of their level of mastery and what areas need improvement.  Assessments will consist of self-reflections, short writing projects, mid-rotation one-on-one coaching session, final in person evaluation, online evaluation through school portal.

I believe that my thoughtfulness to creating a balanced approached to teaching is my strength.  But, as a teacher, I am constantly striving for more self-awareness and opportunities for growth.  Especially in the shelter setting, unbiased teaching and equal opportunity are necessary to work towards our animal welfare goals. I am currently stretching my teaching skills by working towards the Master of Shelter Medicine degree at the University of Florida.  I invite all feedback from students and reflect on all comments received.  I also make myself available to my students for coaching and mentorship post-graduation. Your success is my success.

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