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Jamie Roebuck

The best part of my job

The part of my job I enjoy the most is the constant challenge of trying to explain basic medical science concepts in ways that I hope are clear, relevant and creative, and that lead our medical students to a deep rather than superficial understanding. I always do my best to relate their studies of the basic medical sciences to their future clinical practice, giving relevance and application to what they are learning, as well as finding ways of making the large volume of factual material as memorable as possible. It’s also very rewarding showing students how the different molecules, cells, tissues, organs and systems are all integrated within the human body, and it’s great to see the realisation dawning on their faces as they make the connection between previously separate topics.

The least favourite part of my job

Invigilating exams – hours spent watching students work in silence whilst escorting people to and from the toilet is definitely the least favourite part of my job.

My most important reasons for wanting to be a teacher

Probably the same reasons I gave when I originally applied to train as a doctor – I love the basic medical sciences and I love working with and helping people. It’s such a varied and mentally stimulating job and I find that I am constantly learning, developing and refining the way I teach. It’s especially rewarding working with our graduate entry medical students as the vast majority are highly motivated and are constantly asking perceptive questions and genuinely want to learn and understand.

The best lessons I have learnt from my students

I think the best lesson I learn from my students is a constant reminder of how important it is to never lose the wonder and awe of how amazing the human body is, and what a privilege it is to study medicine. They also constantly remind me of the importance of both understanding and if necessary questioning, the rationale for why we do things the way that we do. The students are also brilliant at helping me find and evaluate useful online teaching resources, and for keeping me up to date with new and emerging technologies which may (or may not) have potential applications in teaching.

Pearls of wisdom from my colleagues

“It’s OK that you don’t know everything” and “it’s OK to admit to your students that you don’t know everything” have probably been the most helpful and liberating pieces of advice I have received as a teacher. I think an honest acknowledgement of your own limitations, coupled with a genuine commitment and interest in helping your students (and yourself) further develop goes a long way to earning their respect.

“Prior preparation is the solid foundation on which good teaching is built” is another invaluable piece of advice, which although very ‘common sense’ can often be forgotten or not given sufficient time due to competing demands. In my experience, whenever a session has not gone as well as I would have liked, the problem can often be traced back to aspects of my preparation.


Jamie Roebuck, WMS

WATE Commendee 2012

Jamie’s passion for his subject and innovative teaching methods help students to develop their understanding of complex knowledge. He endeavours to ensure students recognise the practical applications of what they learn, thus increasing motivation. He is also involved in a number of educational projects to give students the opportunity to consolidate their learning through the use of interactive online resources.