Ut Ceteri Viviant.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

My Educational Philosophy

"Educational Philosophy" sounds so formal. I teach because I love to see that lightbulb turn on in the students' heads, but it's more than that. It's something I have developed a craving for in the past four or five years. I've been a paramedic for almost 14 years now and I've seen some pretty amazing things. I've seen the life drain from people's eyes, and I've seen it flood back into their eyes as well. I've seen EMT's and paramedics come and go, from the rigorous physical and emotional tolls it takes on people. And yet, I absolutely love to share the knowledge I've gained over the years with the younger EMT's coming through the gates. Teaching EMS, in my opinion, is much different than teaching english or mathmatics. It's about discovering the complexities of the anatomy and physiology of the human body, mastering the physical skills associated with saving lives, and even helping develop such intangibles as compassion & intuition.
The typical demographic of the students who populate my courses are invariably young (but not always), and usually straight out of high school, looking to get their foot in the door of a fast paced, exciting, adrenaline-rush career with lots of money, prestige, and room for advancement. Sometimes they're crushed when I tell them that nationwide, the average salary for a starting EMT basic is about ten dollars an hour (back when I started it was five!) and for a starting paramedic with over two years of schooling is 12-15 dollars an hour. Their eyes widen and jaws drop and they say "That's criminal--isn't saving lives worth more than that?" I just smile and say "if you're in it for the money, then you're in the wrong line of work."
But even after they learn the awful truth, there's still a significant number of students that don't care. I can see it in their eyes that they actually want to stay the course and take up the mantle of the EMT. Those are the ones I love to teach. They show up early for class, stay late to ask questions, they're always the first to raise hands and volunteer for skill demonstrations,and even during the boring parts of the class, they're scribbling notes and staying tuned in. Those are the students that will finish the class with high marks, be first to get hired on with an agency, and email me when they help deliver their first baby in the field. It's for those few, that's why I teach.