I use this title tongue-in-cheek, but in the past few weeks there have been some things that have happened to me that I want to tell you about.
My friend went to a dental conference recently. He saw attended a lecture on posterior composites. The lecturing dentist talked about how easy he was to talk to and how if we had any questions that we should just email him. Simple, right? There were no handouts for his lecture because he said there were some "technical difficulties" with all that.
During the lecture, my friend was writing frantically (on a napkin because they didn't provide anything to write on) trying to get all the information down. At the end of the lecture, the dentist gave his personal email out and told the audience to email him for certain information that he spoke about in the lecture.
My friend emailed him two days later and asked for the articles he spoke of in the lecture. NO RESPONSE. I have to tell you that this really pisses me off. As a dentist that has lectured in the past, I would answer every email within the next couple of days and if it took more than two days, I would apologize for the tardiness.
Also, I know what it is like to have to ask a question as a person listening to the lecture, and I use this when I am answering someone's questions. If I am not pleasing people in the audience during and after the lecture then what am I really doing?
I don't like calling people out but... A couple of times I sent a certain conference my handouts and there were "technical difficulties" at the meeting room (meaning the conference people didn't get it done). I would run my butt down to the copy center and run off a bunch of copies. I think handouts are really important.
Now the good dentist.
As you know I am a very inquisitive student. When I read an article, I always have questions. Something might happen during a routine day and I will have a question, and I call a specialist at the end of the day.
Well, I read the last General Dentistry journal, the Pediatric Dentistry issue, cover to cover. And of course, I had lots of questions.
In the journal, they don't have the email addresses to the authors so I saw that the article was written by Dr. Susan Seale of Baylor University. I looked her up on the Baylor Dental School website and emailed her my questions. NO, I am not cyberstalking. I am just asking a question.
My questions are not easy questions. I don't know if you know this, but I am a bit long winded (do not comment on this please). I wrote her my questions but I explained where I was coming from. I like to call it "being thorough."
That same day she wrote me back, impressed by my thoroughness, and asked if we could talk on the phone. I said sure. We set a date, and last week we spoke on the phone (I actually booked it on my schedule). I have to tell you, this woman was awesome.
I have to think she held a pretty high position in the pediatrics departement at the dental school, and she was so excited to talk to me. I don't think she knew who the heck I was or that I have a world-famous blog (I mean, I do have 10 readers in Australia).
I was so impressed by her. A couple of times during the conversation she said, "I know you can tell how much I like talking about this kind of thing." Or she would say something like, "I know that was a little long-winded, but I hope I explained that well." Are you kidding me?
She has passion, she is funny, she is smart, and she loves people and teeth. At the start, I was kind of intimidated. But after a couple minutes, she put me at ease because she was very complimentary of me and my desire to be better. In the original email, I sent her a photo of some of the things I was talking about and she was just giddy over my dentistry. She made my day, let me tell you.
We spoke for about a half an hour. She, in the dental school setting, is going to deal with a lot of lower income situations so her mindset on treating kids is very different than my situation dealing with middle to upper class. But she knew this. She would recognize how her advice might not work in my setting and we would talk through it.
I got off the phone and I just shook my head. I just couldn't believe how awesome our little conversation was. I am so much more excited about my profession because of her. I am so much more energized about treating children than I ever have been.
I don't know what else to say. I was floored. We need our educators to be more like Dr. Seale.
I have blogged about meeting lecturers face-to-face before and being very disappointed. I have talked about writing some big wigs and them not getting back to me. Dr. Seale has erased all my negative feelings about the people on top.
I hope I am at least a fraction to you of what she is to me. I hope that, after we talk, you are more energized, more passionate than before we met. That is why we do this.
Thank you, Dr. Seale.
Have a great Wednesday,