Why teach

Given the burdens of preparation and the distractions from other enterprises that teaching an often awkward group of young people brings, why do it? The answer to this question will surely differ among individual teachers. For us, teaching psychiatry is an exercise that offers some of the greatest of professional satisfactions. It represents a real encounter with other people at a level of interaction hard to duplicate in any other way.

The teaching of students is always based on the hope that they will use this experience to advance our profession. Thus teaching is repaid by a sense of mutual commitment to the future.(Z> As well though—beyond simply the experience of an encounter—teaching is a special form of creativity. This is felt in the experience of wonder and satisfaction provoked by witnessing the emergence of a new professional person from the rough beginnings—full of enthusiasm and confusion—that one first encountered. Students are most challenging and daily life with them is always a kind of 'living on the edge' of refutation and chagrin. As teachers, what do we know and how do we know it? We recommend teaching, but not to the faint-hearted!

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