No Greater Experience
Why did you decide to teach at the Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health?
I have been teaching for a long time, about 20 years, and I feel it is a great opportunity to teach at the first dental school in Arizona.
Do you find that it helps you to learn more by being in an academic environment?
Do the students challenge you to be a better dentist?
Absolutely! As an instructor, you are continually challenged by your students. It is one thing to know something. It is an entirely different challenge to explain it.
Do you do anything differently in your practice as a result of your experience in the school?
Yes, I find myself always teaching staff, patients, and family!
What do you like best about teaching?
Seeing the students understand, learn and grow.
Has anything changed for you since you started spending more time in an academic environment?
Yes. It is a must to stay current with education, research, technology, and other areas of the profession. To earn the trust and respect of students, an instructor must be knowledgeable.
What is your biggest frustration with teaching?
There is a high demand for the students’ time in the current academic environment. I get a limited portion of that time and I always want more.
Do you find that the students are open to what you teach them?
Have you had any opportunities to present solutions to ethical dilemmas the students may face?
Informally, yes. They are very interested in understanding what the actual practice of dentistry is all about.
What do you feel the dental community can do to help the students transition into competent, ethical professionals?
Mentor! Allow students to come to your office and see how you practice.
Do you find that the students challenge you to be a better dentist?
Do you think teaching makes you a better clinical dentist?
Does teaching increase your workload much beyond your clinical practice?
Yes, but it is worth it. It is estimated that every hour of lecture requires two to three hours of work. Bottom line: it takes time to be a great teacher, and the success of your students makes every minute worth the effort.
Is it difficult to give up the income from practice as you take time away for the students?
I don’t think about it that way. Teaching is a passion and it is very hard to put a price tag on it.
How does teaching at ASDOH compare to teaching elsewhere?
These are well educated and well trained students. They perform at a very high level of competency.
What advice would you give to fellow practitioners who might be interested in teaching?
Jump in! It is an incredibly rewarding experience. As much as you put into it, you will get back many times over. There is no greater experience than to have a student come back to you, tell of their success in dentistry, and tell you that you had an influence on that success.
Describe a time when it absolutely paid for you to be an AzDA member.
Every day! I believe in being involved and participating with organized dentistry. The only way to effect change is through active involvement.
INSCRIPTIONS, Journal of the Arizona Dental Association, March 2009