I was fortunate to have the incredible opportunity to land a position as a teacher for a veterinary technician program a number of years ago. I always dreamed of being teacher and although I didn't have the most field experience in the world, I was truly honored to be given the chance. It was a short lived year that I spent teaching future technicians, but one I will always cherish. Here is what I learned from my students.
1. The Basics
In vet tech school you get the chance to learn everything, down to the very basics. What I learned is to keep in mind that a lot of the general public still doesn't understand how animal reproduction works, or why there is a need to vaccinate pets. One student admitted that she thought the only reason she needed to spay her dog was to prevent pregnancy and was thankful she learned about the many other advantages.
2. The Challenges
It is very easy to assume that everybody has to just balance work, life, and school. The challenges my students faced never ceased to amaze me however. I learned that many people have challenges beyond what the eye can see. One student in particular was doing very mediocre in class, but I knew he had so much more potential. I found out that he was hiding school from his family, as they deemed his choice of profession as not good enough. He would wait for everyone to go to sleep at night and then pull out his books to study.
3. The Triumphs
For some students, they would not let anything hold them back. I learned that very obvious disadvantages are not disabilities. Mastering a jugular stick is hard enough for anybody to do, but imagine not all of your fingers being able to extend and flex like normal. I had one student with this challenge who triumphed over every skill by constantly finding new ways to adjust her fingers accordingly. Nothing would hold her back.
4. The Naturals
In each class of 20-30 students there was always the one (or sometimes 2 or 3) person who was going to naturally be good at everything. I learned that some people are truly born with advantages in learning and internalizing concepts, procedures, and skills. These students were able to make a perfect blood smear on the first try, or place their first catheter without hesitation.
All in all, I learned that whether they had an advantage or disadvantage, my students were incredible people. Many defied the odds of making it through the program, and have flourished in their careers. Although I am saddened to no longer be a veterinary technician instructor, the gift of my experiences with the students are one of a kind.