Monday, December 17, 2012

Please Don't Turn Teachers Into Snipers!

Finding Solutions to Violence at School
© Katrena
When I worked as a bedside cancer nurse, I could often easily pick out the patients who were teachers. After dutifully taking multiple pills, they would practically yell, "Wait...don't throw that away!" if I attempted to dispose of the plastic medicine cup.

Teachers are that way. They not only recognize and seek to develop potential in their students, they also have an eye for the possibilities within that little plastic cup and other seemingly insignificant objects. Perhaps the kids can make a craft with them. Maybe they could grace a bulletin board. The cups would make great eyes in a vegetable arrangement! Storage containers? Math helpers? Well, you get the idea. Teachers tend to get creative on tight budgets.

Teacher Talent That Focuses on Education - Photo by University of Pittsburgh at Bradford from Wikimedia Commons
Teachers are great at multi-tasking. Teaching curricula...completing forms...attending to hygiene and nutritional needs...staying on schedule...and all while trying to keep a smile on their faces. Education can be a lifelong habit, and teachers often find themselves in both formal and informal learning environments throughout their careers.

But don't include marksmanship in the mix. Teachers watch out for student safety every day. The near misses rarely go viral on the Internet. Four days before the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, a 9-year-old brought a loaded handgun to my child's school. He carried it around in his bookbag all day, attempting to show the gun to my daughter as she was leaving for the car rider line. But she was not sure what he was saying and needed to leave.

That child's intentions were not the same, but the potential for disaster was too close for comfort. A teacher noticed and immediately reacted. No one was hurt at our elementary school. I am incredibly grateful for that.

We could install high fences, metal detectors, high-tech cameras, and automatically locking doors. We could put the kids in bullet-proof vests and create elaborate systems keeping more people out than those who intend harm. We could make sharpshooting a job requirement....but what if this simply provides access to a weapon past all those safety measures?

Teachers Who Want to Teach - Photo by Lsiryan at Wikimedia Commons
I am personally astounded by the quick actions of so many at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The reaction time must have been minimal. Turning on the intercom, locking doors, hiding. Who knows how many lives were saved that horrible day by simple acts heroes who found a defense within the confines of where they were? But the ones who lost their lives did nothing wrong. They did what they could and our hearts mourn for senseless loss of lives.

Those who target innocent people typically did not become that way overnight. The stigma of mental illness is still a huge barrier to overcome. Quality, holistic, creative mental and behavioral health services backed by solid evidence-based practice and research are lacking in our country. Many of the best programs are unaffordable, inaccessible, and/or overwhelmed, leaving families to try to deal with the situation on their own, with rapidly depleted, inadequate resources. These families often deal with policies, red tape, and shaming societal attitudes that victimize and isolate them further.

How to Make Schools Safer - Photo by Mike Miller at Wikimedia Commons
For me, the answer is not in trying to make schools into forts, with teachers serving as guards. Reasonable safety policies that are clear, understood, and practiced as appropriate? Yes. But those who are determined to create despair will often find a way, despite all the extra effort. Go to the root. Find a better way to repair the broken minds and hearts of those who disconnect.

We now have 26 new reasons to address this issue with resolved intent. Let those lives create change that works. I don't have all the answers. Perhaps we as a nation should look at that medicine cup in a new light. Our children's future may depend on it.

Readers may also wish to see my musical tribute to the Sandy Hook Elementary School survivors entitled The Day Our Nation Cried. Find more educational resources at the Student Survive 2 Thrive site map.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Breath Sounds Free Practice Test

Breath sounds vary greatly from one person to the next. Several medical terms are used to describe breath sounds, and this practice test focuses on ten of some of the more common normal and abnormal breath sounds.

How to use this medical terminology practice test:
  1. Click on the first slide to enlarge it.
  2. Click on the next thumbnail at the bottom of the screen to advance.
I hope you find this medical terminology breath sounds practice test helpful. Find more study guides, flash cards, and practice tests at the Student Survive 2 Thrive site map.

Free Medical Terminology Practice Test
Breath Sounds Practice Test by Katrena
Learn Medical Terminology Respiratory Terms
Medical Term for Rapid Breathing
Tachypnea Definition
Medical Term for Whistling Breath Sound
Wheeze Definition
Medical Term for Air Forced Through Nose and Mouth
Cough Definition
Medical Term for Deep Breathing Due to Diabetic Acidosis
Kussmaul Respiration Definition
Medical Term for Snoring Breath Sound
Rhonchi Definition
Medical Term for high-pitched Breath Sounds that Sound like Wind Blowing
Stridor Definition
Medical Term for Breath Sound Due to Inflammation of Pleural Space
Pleural Rub Definition
Medical Term for Wet, Bubbling or Crackling Breath Sound
Rales Definition
Medical Term for Forceful Expiration
Cough Definition
Medical Term for Difficult Breathing
Dyspnea Definition
Free Medical Terminology Practice Test

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Student Success – The Importance of Taking Responsibility

Tips for Student Success - Photo by Tulane Public Relations on Wikimedia Commons
The majority of students want to be successful in the classroom, but success is often defined in a variety of ways. One student may wish to gain skills while another may be shooting for a particular grade. Some students may be motivated to meet minimum criteria to maintain a scholarship while others may be stepping out to provide a great example for family members.

Whatever the motivation, a key ingredient in becoming a successful student is the ability to accept responsibility for one's decisions. Most students have a full schedule while trying to juggle home life, academic life, and often a job. A plethora of opportunities often vie for one's time.

Be Realistic When Choosing a Schedule

Many students overestimate their ability to commit to a full load of classes while caring for family members and/or holding down a job. Traditional face-to-face classes will have time each week to meet, but many hours of study and work may be involved outside of class time. Online classes tend to require a great deal of self-discipline as many students in a virtual classroom must develop their own schedule for studying and completing assignments within the class guidelines.

One rule of thumb is to plan to spend three hours of studying/working for each class hour each week. Many students find it helpful to take a few less classes if they have a particularly busy life outside of the classroom. Developing a set time to study in an environment that has less distractions is also helpful for many students.

Be Responsible for Requirements of the Class

Professors want students to be successful and often provide many resources that spell out expectations for the class. Unfortunately, some students fail to look at that information until the end of the semester is approaching.

Look at the course syllabus and answer the following questions:
  • What is the grading scale? (Many students mistakenly assume the grading scale is the same for all classes.)
  • Is there a calendar of assignments?
  • Are some assignments worth more than others (weighting of grades)?
  • Can any assignment be dropped?
  • Is any extra credit available?
If you find that you are struggling on particular assignments, look for extra study opportunities and make sure you understand how each assignment is graded and ensure that you understand all information because many class assignments may build on knowledge acquired from previous assignments. Those with special needs may find it helpful to seek assistance through an accommodation plan.

Free tutoring may be available, and volunteers may provide feedback on written assignments. Students may find study groups helpful. Some online study resources are excellent. Ask the professor what he/she would recommend to improve scores in the future.

Be Ready for the Unexpected

Sometimes life has a way of pitching a curve ball when you least expect it. Things happen. If you have planned carefully throughout the semester, you may have a cushion that may help to keep your grade closer to target. Some professors may extend a deadline if you notify them of an emergency, particularly if you mention a special need before the due date. Some instructors may offer make-up assignments.

If you miss an assignment that cannot be made up, determine how this will affect your overall score and adjust your plan accordingly. Many students miss multiple assignments and begin asking about extra credit opportunities and/or make-up assignments during the week of final exams. This usually does not result favorably for a student who is struggling academically. Students who explore options and additional learning opportunities immediately after a missed assignment tend to create better damage control plans.

Not All Success is Measured by a Grade

I find that many students who do not get a perfect score may be learning more than those who test highly on each assignment. A student who begins with very low scores and begins to improve throughout the class are quite successful in my eyes. Students who honestly earn their grades will be more likely to retain that knowledge than those who are only concerned with getting a score at any cost.

Some of my most successful students completely changed gears after taking a class. Perhaps she discovered that a chosen career path was not at all what she had expected and decided to change majors. Finding one's passion and moving toward that goal can be one of the greatest learning experiences one can enjoy!

Readers may also wish to read How to Calculate Your Grade in a Class and How to Communicate With an Online Professor. Find more of Katrena's articles, flash cards, and practice tests at Student Survive 2 Thrive.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Free Medical Terminology Practice Test: Nervous System Cells

Learning basic anatomical and physiological terms related to the nervous system can be tough! This practice test focuses on nervous system cells. Many of these terms are not commonly known terms and some are difficult to spell, but after some studying, the nervous system will seem a little less intimidating.

How to use this free medical terminology practice test:
  1. Click on the first image below.
  2. Click on the next thumbnail at the bottom to advance to the next slide.
I hope you find this practice test to be helpful. Find more free resources, including tips, flash cards, and practice tests at the Student Survive 2 Thrive site map.

Study Guide for Cells of Nervous System

Free Medical Terminology Practice Test

What protects axons in nervous system?

Myelin sheath definition

Motor nerves that take impulses away from CNS

Efferent nerve definition

Neuron anatomy and basic parts

Oligodendrocyte definition

Space between two nerves

Synapse definition

Connective tissue that protects nervous system through phagocytosis

Neuroglia definition

Cell shaped like star in Central Nervous System

Astrocyte definition

Axon not covered with myelin sheath

Gray matter definition

Nervous system cell that increases if tissue is damaged or infection is present

Microglial cells definition

Sensory nerves transmit impulses to CNS

Afferent nerves definition

Nervous system cell that looks like a tree

Dendrite definition

Functional unit of the nervous system

Neuron definition

Axons covered with myelin sheath

White matter definition

What does a synapse connect?

What is space between axon and dendrite?

Cells that form myelin sheath on nerves in body

Oligodendrocyte definition

What prevents harmful substances from entering brain?

Blood-brain barrier definition

Free Practice Test on Nervous System