Playing Your Cards Right with Dr. Meghan Jeffres!
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Highlights (full transcript at www.twopillspodcast.com):
Meghan Jeffres graduated pharmacy school from University of Wyoming, PGY1 at Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City Utah, PGY2 at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis Missouri, Assistant to Associate professor at Roseman University College of Pharmacy in Las Vegas Nevada, then back to Assistant at the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy. She loves creating, doesn’t mind assessing, hates writing about it.
L: I just have to say after knowing Meghan and working with her, I disagree with that last sentence. She is fantastic at all three of those.
M: Quality of output does not necessarily mean enjoying the process. But thank you.
I came in to Academia through the side door. The first classroom I was in was at Roseman, which is a 3 year accelerated program with a block schedule. Students are in class from 8 to 3 and you are responsible for that day. You have six hours to teach and spend that time with them. You are forced to schedule time in your lectures to do things. The time management is an interesting process to learn. Roseman really focused on Mastery of learning and it was a 90% pass-fail curriculum. On average, your curriculum should be ⅓ to 1/2 Active Learning. Since then, I have become an advocate for active learning. Now, I'm really looking at the scholarship of active learning.
One thing that I thought would be mundane was going through worksheets. In the classroom, as infectious disease teachers, there is no standard textbook. We are often creating our own content. I give them that basic information ahead of time in a flipped classroom kind of way. Then, in class, we go through a skeleton of a workbook. I thought students might find it boring, but they are so into it. They think it's really effective. Handouts, worksheets, workbooks, or something I do all the time.
Surprising part is that it is effective and yet rudimentary. It's not graded and all of it is focused on their learning and their benefit.
What has not been effective was taking ID fundamentals and skipping a couple of steps. That led to asking them to apply things that they were maybe not ready for. That can be very frustrating for even your highest achieving students. It will cause them to check out. There has to be gradual steps from memorization to application in the real world. There can be assuming that they can make connection or links that haven't been assessed yet in the classroom.
For someone who is new to teaching, I think the best thing is to sit in the classroom. It does not have to be your content area. You should go listen to both clinical and science folks. It takes time, but your first year as faculty is when you probably have the most flexibility to do it. If there is another pharmacy school nearby, broaden your horizons and go there to listen. There are two things to look for. One is what is the teacher doing and two how are the students responding.
Sometimes it's hard to take something that you created and put it out into the world, even to your own classroom. It will be critiqued and picked apart. There's a concern that they will hate this thing that you developed or put time into. Is it going to be embarrassingly terrible? You have to be risk tolerant. It also comes with practice. You also get much better at planning. You do not want to wing it or just have it be a free-for-all. Things go sideways quickly. It comes from repeated efforts of trying new things. You will just get better at trying new things. That in itself is a skill.
When I was first introduced to strength finders, I thought that was such a great concept. Stop trying to fix what you're bad at and go ahead and spend time in what you're good at. That felt like a permission slip for me. One of the