A Short List of What NOT to Do



1. Draw/show a confusing diagram like:  

HT → TRH → Ant. Pit → TSH →  thyroid →  TH →  target cells


What's wrong with this (assuming you defined all the abbreviations)? HT, Ant. Pit, thyroid are glands. TRH, TSH & TH are hormones. The distinction is almost impossible to see when the diagram is written as above. The arrows also mean two different things – some arrows mean “releases” and some arrows mean “goes to.” (This is a real example from a real prof.)

How to fix it? One possibility is to put the glands/targets in boxes or circles so it is clear what’s released and what’s a tissue. Alternatively, draw a longer arrow from each tissue to the next, and write the names of the hormones over the arrows.

2. Do some blackboard carpentry. Draw a picture that shows a normal, baseline situation. Then erase and alter your picture to fit a new situation – more oxygen? with drug? next step in pathway? Don’t redraw, just alter the original picture.  (What should you do instead? Make a story board -- draw each case or step separately.)


3. Stand in front of what you wrote.


4. Face the board as you talk.


5. Write in corners of board or wherever there is space.


6. Use jargon, abbreviations. (Verbally and on board.)


7. Erase what you just wrote before everyone has finished copying it down. (When there is plenty of other old stuff you could have erased.)


8. Skip important steps. Start explaining in the middle.


9. Take a lot of time explaining the obvious.


10. Write too small or in unintelligible handwriting.


11. Show a slide and wave the laser pointer over it. (But don't explain what's on the slide.)


12. Mumble.


13. Talk too fast.


14. Stare at the floor.


15. Say something very complex (like the pathway above or a description of a complex structure) and write nothing on the board.


16. Insult the students – make fun of them (or their ignorance) when they ask questions, and berate them when they don’t speak up.


17. Explain how stupid, worthless, lazy, pampered etc. students are nowadays. Not like when I was a student.


I don’t include making actual mistakes – everyone does that! (And it's okay if you admit it.)