In this blog, I would like to share my own personal reflection of my professional ‘being’ at this time. I think my reflection is both happy and sad. I used to work full time in my profession of dentistry. I love my field and could spend every hour of every day working in my field. I like all services and seem to be good at almost all aspects. I graduated as one of the top students in my class. Well, the sad part came a few years ago when I developed hand, neck and shoulder problems. I had to decrease working and underwent surgery on my hand. Even with surgery, I was still in pain. So, I decided to look into other areas where I could enjoy my passion for dentistry without being in pain all the time. I looked at various areas in my field and applied for various positions. I tried different jobs but none of them made me happy except for teaching. I found that teaching allowed me to share my passion and help future colleagues see the joys our profession. I was amazed at how much I knew and how much knowledge I could transfer to students. I could help make a difference in their lives and future careers while teaching what I love to do. I started teaching patient care and soon found myself being recruited into two other courses. I won a teaching award the first year. This year, I am involved with four different courses while working 2 ½ days per week.
In five years, I hope to be able to achieve a contract position at a university setting teaching dentistry while working 1-2 days per week. As my physical limitations increase, I will leave private practice and focus on teaching. However, teaching positions are not so readily available. We have a lot of older, foreign dentists in British Columbia who can not obtain a practicing license. As such, they teach at the university. They are willing to be compensated very low rates in order to work. This has caused lack of adequate compensation and poor working conditions at this time. I feel bad for my students as they have difficulty communicating and understanding some of the instructors. My hope is to demonstrate my teaching effectiveness, complete as much educational credentials as possible, and build a solid relationship with the faculty in order to be considered when a contract position comes along. I hope to demonstrate that there is a big difference in someone who is Canadian licensed and has Canadian experience and education compared to foreign-trained dentists. This has not been an easy task thus far. My student response rate has been amazing and inspirational. Faculty is starting to see my efforts and effectiveness. However, the department is now cutting back positions in order to save money. No matter what, I will keep at it and hope for the best. I know that this is my passion and where I feel valued and where I gain the most joy in my life at this time. While listening to Sir Ken Robinson videos, I could not help but smile when he talked about being in your ‘element’. Teaching has given me that. I find that my time teaching feels like minutes after hours of teaching. I feel very fortunate to have found a new passion in my professional life.
To further develop myself, I plan to complete my PIDP diploma and then move on to the media teaching diploma. I will continue to take courses at the Center of Teaching and Learning Excellence at the University of British Columbia to keep on top of trends in adult education at the university setting. I plan to take on and volunteer for more educational opportunities and seek senior faculty recognition when possible. So far, the faculty has been very supportive. I do not qualify for the Faculty educational certificate program through U.B.C. as it is only granted to contract faculty – not sessional faculty such as myself. I hope to be in the position to experience the program in the near future.