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Reversing Roles for an Afternoon: A Student’s Perspective on Teaching

By Jenine Abuzir, Class of 2021

‘Those who know, do. Those that understand, teach.’ –Aristotle

This was a quote that I had always lived by, yet didn’t truly grasp until I was given the opportunity to teach during pharmacy school. I had always enjoyed the concept of teaching and ensuring the success of others, whether that be through hosting review sessions for classmates, peer-reviewing assignments or tutoring underclassmen. It was gratifying being able to witness the growth and progress of others, and knowing that I had played a significant role in helping them doing so.

In the fall quarter of my third-year of pharmacy school at Midwestern University, I was approached by a faculty member about my passion for teaching. I was given the opportunity to create and teach a lecture of my choice in the Women’s Health elective, a course that was to be offered in the spring for second-year pharmacy students. I was elated—this was the experience I had always dreamed of, yet didn’t think would become a reality while still in pharmacy school. Cardiology had always been a passion-topic of mine, so I knew I wanted to create a lecture that incorporated it with the backbone of women’s health. Thus, I chose the topic “ASCVD Risk in Women,” and excitedly began working towards creating learning objectives for my lecture. I met closely with a faculty member who was a clinical pharmacist in cardiology, and gained insight as to how to curate a lecture that was informative, yet still relevant for students to relate to. Over the course of a few weeks, I met with one of the course directors to create a thorough overview of my lecture and establish the most concise way of presenting it. I looked to past lecture notes for inspiration on sentence structure, case questions and overall content flow. Once I was confident with the information I had compiled, I was able to complete my slides and create quiz questions to be incorporated into the students’ assessment for the course.

Weeks passed, and my presentation date was nearing. It soon became apparent, however, that due to the recent COVID-19 situation, classes were to be given online and I would have to pre-record my lecture for the students. I looked at this new obstacle in my path as an opportunity to challenge myself, and strengthen my abilities as a student teacher. With the help of the course directors, I mentally prepared myself for the change in setting and recorded the lecture from home. My lecture went live the following week, and students were able to watch and gain a better understanding on the distinct risks of ASCVD in women.

This experience offered me a glimpse into the life of a faculty member, and an even greater appreciation for all their hard-work and efforts. During moments of self-doubt, my faculty advisors were a constant source of motivation, support and encouragement. Student teaching was an enlightening experience, and one that I would strongly encourage to any student to pursue. It may seem intimidating in the beginning, so it’s important to consider a few questions for yourself when pursuing a teaching opportunity:

o What topic do you feel is important to share?

o Who can you contact to help make this happen?

o What do you hope students will gain from your lecture?

o How can you keep students engaged in your lecture?

o What research/preparation is needed to ensure the success of your lecture?

Once you’re confident in being able to answer those questions and find a topic that resonates with you, contact a faculty member for guidance! Opportunities are always available—you just have to be willing to take the chance and trust in what you have to offer. On a final note, to any students who hope to pursue teaching one day but are hesitant to do so: do it, because it will make all the difference in how you perceive the field and what you are truly capable of achieving.

Jenine Abuzir, Class of 2021

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