My sophomore year of college I completed the undergraduate anatomy course. I had received an A and was interested in becoming a TA because I thought that it would look good on a resume. I applied and received the position. Throughout my junior year I served as a volunteer TA. I was assigned to 1 lab that I would attend twice a week. While in lab I would assist a GA who was in charge of teaching the lab. I would grade quizzes, clean up, set up quizzes for them. In other words, do what ever they asked. After serving as a TA during my junior year, I thought that I would apply for a position my senior year. However, this position was different. It was for to become a Lab Supervisor/E-Board member of the Anatomy Teaching Team. A close friends of mine, also an LAS member applied also. We both received a position.
Being a Lab Supervisor/E-Board member held many additional responsibilities. Our first meeting was in August 2017 before classes had even started. We discussed the lab manual and any change that should be sent to the publisher, lab rules, and teaching procedures, as well as the responsibility of the TAs that we would be in charge of. From that point on we had weekly meetings to discuss the prior week and any issues that need to be resolved.
Quickly I learned how much this position worked in conjunction with everyone else on the team. After this first group meeting, we had another meeting where the Lab Supervisors/E-Board responsibilities were discussed. Responsibilities included running open lab study sessions, dissections, lab clean and cadaver maintenance, and teaching visiting classes. I was put in charge of open lab study sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday 6-8am. I had one other responsibility that none of the other members had. I was to attend lecture every week, Tuesday/Thursday 12:30-1:45pm. In lecture I was in charge of running the power points, Top Hat questions, attendance, and pretty much anything related to technology. The point of this role was to make lecture more efficient. Rather than having to have the professor take breaks from lectures to switch between power points and activities, it was my job to make sure that lecture ran smoothly in regards to these things.
Serving as a Lab Supervisor/E-Board member in this Anatomy Team has been an extremely beneficial experience. Like previously mentioned, I had originally began as a TA because I thought it would look good on a resume. Yes, it does look good on a resume, but it has benefited me in countless other ways.
- Taught me patience: Understanding that everyone learns and grasps information information is important, especially when teaching anatomy. The pictures students look and and learn from in the books is nothing like the real thing. This is frustrating for students. I have learned that sometimes all students need to 20 minutes of my undivided attention to grasp the content in front of them.
- Developed my communication skills: Its not unusual to hear a student say that their professor is so smart but they stink at explaining the content to the class. Being a TA has taught me to verbalize the knowledge I know. Sometimes I fail, and the students looks at me like I am crazy. I regroup, try again, and learn from my failures.
- Developed my problem solving skills: Now that I am on the E-Board and act as a Lab Supervisor, I have to solve problems. A few problems that I have had to resolve are TAs not following through with their responsibilities, lack of quality models available to students, and inaccurate lab manuals.
- Created professional relationships/connections: This position helped me to create professional relationships with many professors and peers. These connection have been very useful as I prepare to begin graduate school in May.
- Expanded my knowledge: This position required me to not only know the content, it also tested the extent of my knowledge. When students had questions in lab, I am expected to be able to answer their question. One this that I learned was extremely important was being able to admit if I did not know something. The students trust that I will provide them with the right answer. Giving them an answer or information that may not be correct is not only hurting the trust they have in me, it it also negatively impact their ability to learn.
Most people cringe when I tell them I work with cadavers, but being chosen to serve as a Lab Supervisor on the Anatomy Teaching Team has been a great experience. I have created lasting relationships, expand my knowledge, and was able to further develop my leadership skills. This was a role that I really enjoyed because it directly related to my area of study and future career goals.