Recently, I had the opportunity to teach my younger daughter’s preschool class about being a doctor. Sometimes I think that part of the reason I became a doctor was just so I could get to do that.
I was nervous. I’m not sure why I was quite so nervous, considering in retrospect, I can’t honestly think of anything that could have gone wrong. It wasn’t like I was lecturing to a bunch of Harvard professors--these are individuals who pick their noses and eat it. In public. This was like the least discerning audience of all time.
I started out by introducing myself and asking the kids, “Do you know what a doctor is?”
One kid’s hand shot up and I called on him. “A doctor gives us s-----,” he announced.
I couldn’t make out the last word he said, so I took a guess. “A doctor gives you socks?”
The kids burst into hysterical laughter. He said “shots.” How did I not know that? That is literally the only thing children know about doctors.
I had this brilliant idea to bring in a pile of rubber gloves for the kids, so they could each put on a glove and feel like a doctor. Except this turned out to be the worst idea of all time. Kids are apparently unable to put on gloves on their own. Several teachers had to be recruited to help. This ate up, like, ten minutes.
After that, I had the kids listen to each other’s chests with my stethoscope. They came up in pairs of two so I could help them. Except about a quarter of the class was completely deaf.
Child: “I can’t hear anything!”
Me: [adjusts stethoscope] “How about now?”
Child: “No! Nothing!”
Me: [able to literally feel small child’s heart pounding with my hand on the diaphragm of the stethoscope] “Um… sorry?”
Then I broke out my reflex hammer. You want to hear something sad? I actually bought a new reflex hammer just to use in my daughter’s class. The fact that I was using it on patients wasn’t motivation enough, apparently.
The teachers looked a little nervous about that hammer. Understandably so. It was fine though. Nobody was beaten senselessly with the hammer or anything like that.
Soon after, we ran out of time, which was a shame because I was just getting into it. The teacher asked the children, “Do you have any questions for the doctor that aren’t stories?”
A boy raised his hand: “I went to the doctor and I got a shot.”
“Questions that aren’t stories,” the teacher clarified.
A girl raised her hand: “My mom took me to the doctor and I got a shot.”
And it just sort of went on like that.
In any case, it was a really fun experience. Highly recommended.