Pursuing a Dual Career - Dental Education and Clinical Practice
The straight-forward answer to the question ‘why do you want
to be an educator in addition to a practicing clinician?’ is relatively simple:
teaching feels great, and clinical practice feels great too. Now, the answer to
the question ‘WHY does teaching feel great?’ requires a much more in-depth and
inevitably incomplete description of my feelings on the matter, as are all
explanations about why individuals have passion for a particular activity or
I have struggled so much to grasp a lot of the basic
concepts in the dental sciences and in clinical dentistry. I am now in my 6th
year of post-high school education, and I can confidently say that, when it
comes to learning new topics and new skill sets, I am a (oftentimes
frustratingly) linear thinker. My education has been built step-by-step, in a
meticulous, painstaking manner. But, every so often, I reach a point in
mastering a subject where I begin to understand the interconnectedness of the
various subjects we are taught in the classroom, and how those topics can
translate to the clinic. It is these flashes of inspiration that I am eager to
tell others about, and that make me so excited to teach. I want students to
gain a lifelong appreciation for the applicability of the basic sciences to
clinical practice. And I want to be with students as they take their first
steps in learning the art of clinical dentistry, to catalyze both their
excellence in and passion with the profession.
On a more esoteric note, teaching is a way to keep my mind
and my imagination active. I think that quality teaching is as dependent on
imagination as it is on actual mastery of the subject matter being taught.
Splitting my time between teaching and operating a private practice will allow
me to pursue my passion for clinical dentistry while not sacrificing my talent
as an educator.
I would like to close by sharing the best advice that my
favorite teacher once gave to me: choose your path in life selfishly. Do things
because they feel good, and do something that you’ll never get tired of. After
more than 8 years of working as a tutor for younger students, I couldn’t
imagine pursuing a career that robbed me of the opportunity to educate.
*post originally published 5/7/2013