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A Blurb From Bruce

A Blurb from Bruce – I’m JUST a teacher…said no teacher ever!!


Peter Klein, the founding director of the Global Reporting Centre, recently published an article via The Globe and Mail about teaching (1).  He reminisces on his early days as a student and hearing the expression “those who can’t do, teach and those who can’t teach, teach gym”.  He quotes Mr. Woody Allen, a character in the screenplay Annie Hall.  Mr. Klein goes on to offer a challenge to those who believe in that quote’s validity…He writes “those who do not have the chance to be challenged by curious, bold young minds are often relegated to doing things the same old way.”  He summarizes with this – “those who can’t teach, just do – and that’s a shame”.

Peter Klein is just one of the many educators that have expressed their deep displeasure with the notion that teaching is a fallback, a catch-all-net that traps the unsuccessful.  History reminds us that some of world’s greatest minds were teachers.  Richard Feynman, noted to be one of the world’s most brilliant physicists, was a teacher.  Salman Khan, founder of Khan Academy, vested his life’s interest in changing the minds of those willing to learn.  Walter Levin - a science professor at MIT, Marie Curie – one of the first women to teach at the Sorbonne, Stephen Hawking – renowned for intelligible work with mathematics, embracing a position once held by Sir Isaac Newton.  And if that isn’t enough there is Galileo, Aristotle, Mozart, etc.  One thing is for sure – those who can do, teach – and those who teach, undoubtedly, can do.

Teaching is serious business – not for the faint-hearted or those seeking to settle in comfort.  More importantly, there is no such thing as “just a teacher”.  Remember – you are NOT just anything; you are what you are.  Period.  We are not just paramedics, we are not just nurses, we are not just teachers – we ARE paramedics, we ARE nurses, we ARE teachers – Recognize and OWN IT.  JUST is crappy scapegoat; a word that rides on the end of fluffy and excuse-laden coattails.  If you teach, then know that what you do, what you have done and what you will do are all part of the teaching and learning experience – and student’s love it!  Embrace what you do; and do what you embrace.

Embedded in the very venue of teaching lies this, says Peter Klein – “Question the way we do what we do, and improve it”.  Critical care education thirsts for this.  In a world where 30 years of experience is discredited; and things change at near-daily pace, a call to an open mind may be the drastic difference between life and death.  Student’s deserve to hear and see our experiences; presented in a way that captures their thoughts, shifts their perspectives and engages their critical thinking.  We do not, and more importantly, should not, stop until we rest in the context of Albert Einstein’s epic wisdom – “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough”.  To this end, continue the pursuit of excellence in teaching – it will come back and thank you one day!!

Be well and stay safe out there!!


Bruce is a critical care registered nurse and paramedic who has worked in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Maryland.  His clinical background includes the ICU, ER, Trauma, Cardiology and Flight.  His graduate degree is in Education.  He is happily married to Stephanie, after meeting her while working at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD.  They currently live in Connecticut with their daughter Ava Mae and their 160 lb. English Mastiff, Maggie.  In addition to being an active volunteer and officer with the Ellington Volunteer Ambulance Corps, Inc., Bruce enjoys professional gigs in clinical and distance medical education, advocacy, leadership, consultation and blogging.

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