The things medical school professors do (and get away with) are absolutely ridiculous. I am realizing that I have been very spoiled all my life with excellent teachers who are competent instructors, care about the students, and want them to succeed. Well, those traits are virtually nonexistent in the medical school realm. Here are a few examples of stupid/incredible things our teachers have done.
**NOTE: To protect privacy, all names have been changed.
1. Dr. Shlincoln. Tells us on the first day of class that attendance is not required. I believe a direct quote from him was, "I don't care if you're here or in Alaska." However, when students take him at his word and actually start skipping class to go to Alaska (or, you know, to be in the library frantically studying) he starts to take it to heart. So much so that he threatens us on a daily basis that our bad attendance is making him angry and it is making him want to give us harder test questions. Which he does. When the class scores poorly on aforementioned questions, he uses words like "abysmal" and berates their attendance and study habits at every opportunity.
2. Dr. Shballard. This guy is actually a pretty good teacher. However, his darn appendix had to go and rupture right before the part of the course where he was supposed to be teaching us about the kidney. Guess what this means... Shlincoln's back! He gleefully informs us multiple times daily that "I haven't taught this since 1975!" Top it all off with the fact that his renal physiology section began the week before our hardest histology test, meaning class attendance was really low, so now Shlincoln's angry AND incompetent. This is a recipe for disaster.
3. Dr. ShVan de Waa. Does not teach us anything throughout the entire first two semesters of the course. This is fine with the class, because (see #s 1, 2, 4, 5) we have plenty of other things to worry about. According to past classes, 99.9% of everything we learn in Intro to Clinical Medicine is revealed in a group practice practical session held toward the end of the semester. Great. There's only one problem: no schedule exists for these group sessions. When and if they occur is entirely dependent on Dr. ShVan de Waa's personal schedule. We are not notified beforehand what group we're in or when we are meeting. The details will be divulged at an undetermined time in an e-mail from Dr. ShVDW's secretary. From my discussion with groups that have already met (my part of the alphabet has not been reached yet, so I'm still in the dark) these e-mails usually appear between one and four hours ahead of the time the meeting will take place. (I'm convinced it's some sort of exercise in spontaneity, like they are secretly teaching us to be able to respond to our pagers at lightning speed or something.) This would all be fine if it were not for the fact that he seems to have no concept of or access to our class schedule. I believe almost every meeting he has scheduled has required the group to miss class. Which would normally not be a big deal, but see #1. One group, for example, was scheduled to meet the night before our last physiology test. One member of the group e-mailed him (excuse me, his secretary) back and respectfully requested a rescheduling because they were all studying for the huge test tomorrow. No problem, he responded. The next day, after the test was over, the group members checked their e-mail to find a message from one of the women who works in the office downstairs reading something like this: "I have you guys scheduled as having a test right now, but Dr. ShVan De Waa is in my office right now waiting for your group to come do your ICM practice." Like I said earlier - no concept of time. Or schedules.
4. Dr. Shcohen. Has no obvious job (teaching classes, etc.). Sole function is to oversee our case study presentations that occur throughout the semester. Obviously, introducing student presentations for two hours a week is not enough to fill all of his time for which I'm sure he makes a great salary, so he has come up with other ways to fill his days. Not the least of these is "finding ways to make students' lives miserable." This includes: telling students that they do not know anything about public speaking and that their choice of standing on the other side of the room to give a presentation is unacceptable; asking ridiculous cardiovascular-system-related questions at the conclusion of every presentation just so he can answer them himself when he stumps the group; and writing test questions that could probably not be answered by the rest of the physiology faculty. Oh, but that's not all. Perhaps the most intriguing part of Dr. Shcohen is (drumroll please) the cans. Late each afternoon, he comes into the classroom and digs through the trash can. It is quite an amusing picture, considering he is about 5 feet and 4 inches tall. And he is not just skimming the top; he's digging in the trash can. To find aluminum cans. Last time I saw him, he was able to recover three. I have never been to his office, but apparently the walls and floor are piled high with his stash of aluminum cans. I have heard rumors that he cashes in these cans for recycling and uses the proceeds to fund some sort of physiology department banquet at the end of the year. I am not sure this is true, or even possible, but it's strange anyway.
5. Dr. Shbhatnagar. This man has a good heart. He really does. And he's SO passionate about histology that 56 slides per day cannot contain the amount of information he's just dying to share with us. So instead of cutting out irrelevant or unnecessary information, he uses creative methods to fit all the words he possibly can into one slide. Now, you may have learned in school at some point that pressing the "Enter" key on the keyboard begins a new line of text. This is normally used when one wants to separate two pieces of information. Sometimes, if you want to be really fancy and super organized, you can even make a bulleted list. However, most proponents of this concept neglect to mention that this method takes up SO much extra space. Why would you want to separate your text into multiple lines? Unnecessary. For that matter, why are pesky phrases and sentences necessary? No one cares about "the" and "such as" and "except." You know, silly words. Why don't we just cut them all out? And you know, I always thought the semicolon didn't get used enough. He's really on a different intellectual plane than the rest of us, one where his primary quest is to make sure as little blank space as possible appears on a PowerPoint slide. Here is an example of one such slide:
(One other technique that helps to fit more words on a page is to make the pictures as SMALL as possible. If the captions are legible, it's not small enough.)