Vickie Snyder: The Education of a Novice Teacher

I have the unique and exciting opportunity of teaching a weekly biomed class this semester, starting Jan. 15 and ending in May. While the material is very basic, I wasn’t prepared for all of the different documents that must be filled out to become a teacher, all of the technology that I would need to use, and all of the work involved in preparing the class material.

The process to get into the teaching system was relatively simple, but I had to complete several documents and applications. I then had to get myself “credentialed” within the state school system. I struggled with obtaining proof of employment to demonstrate the fact I had valuable experience working in the biomed field. All of the companies that I have worked for now use automatic online systems with codes designated for the specific employer AND you have to pay for that service. Unfortunately, the school doesn’t pay for proof of employment. I had to get creative, but I was able to get what was needed and complete the process.

Next, I had to gain access to the school’s information systems and programs. This experience has been wonderful. The school has a technology team that has set up my course page with the materials and content I want for the class. One IT staff member told me “not to worry about the technology part, focus on the class material. We can help you get everything loaded once that is ready.” Boy, was she right.

I have a working syllabus from the previous instructor. Not to say that the existing syllabus for the class isn’t good, but I want do to more with the topics (NFPA, The Joint Commission, FDA, etc). I want to have more class participation and a team project. I also want to be paperless.

On my first day of preparing for the class, I spent six hours working on the content. I was very disappointed in myself and frustrated with how long it was taking. I was going to be spending more time than I had originally planned. No wonder my technology person at the school made the comment she made. This class material planning stuff is hard work!

Since then, I have re-evaluated how I am going to manage the class and will post the syllabus the Monday before the class starts. I also have a new appreciation for all of the teachers who are helping our new biomeds start their careers. I’ve now had a firsthand experience as to what it takes to prepare for just one class. I can’t imagine having to do it for several. All of you out there put in a lot of time preparing the next generation of healthcare technology management professionals. You probably don’t get told this enough: Thank you for your work.

Vickie Snyder, MBA, BS, is director of biomedical engineering at Fairview Health Services in Minneapolis, MN. She is also a member of the AAMI Board of Directors.

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