The Art of Plastic Surgery
How do you teach art to students? You can teach science but how do you teach the nuances of art? How for example do you teach someone to look beyond the lump of stone in front of them; at the beautiful statue it is going to turn into at the end of your chiseling? This question – the how-to communicate the excitement of the end result at the initial start is something which has been plaguing me ever since I got to teach a bunch of interns the nuances of plastic surgery work.
Let me confess- I am a bad teacher. I just don’t have the inclination or patience to stand by watching people mutilate tissues in the name of learning while I, the expert am standing there hands tied behind, itching to take the knife in my hands- my expert hands- to finish the case and get a beautiful result. But working in a large teaching institution means I have to bear these crosses and trials everyday – to stand by and just watch and direct – all in the name of teaching. And I have found by empirical study of the students that although surgery can be taught- plastic surgery cannot be taught- at least not that easily. It not only requires good, make that “great” surgical hands and tissue handling skills it also requires a fantastic imagination to see the end result before you even start- to stare at clay and see the statue. I don’t know how art teachers do it- how they inspire sculptors or painters to exceed their limitations as students and learn to produce masterpieeces and I for one, would certainly like to learn the secret of how-to-teach imagination, a bold rethinking from mundane objects- if anyone who knows can share it with me.
And all these weeks of teaching has shown me only this- most people, make that the majority aspire to just mediocrity- if I can do such and such as a basic minimum that’s enough to earn a comfortable living kinda mentality. It’s very, very rare to find someone who wants to go beyond this morass of mediocrity and aspire to be a great surgeon- someone who can compete with the best internationally- like I aspired to do when I was younger and in training to be a surgeon. That kinda ambition, that hunger, that pride is absolutely not there now and I don’t know why- is it the educational system or is it individual drive which is lacking. But till now- all I have seen are also-rans. I am still looking forward to gaining a thoroughbred as my apprentice- someone worth teaching all my techincal skills to. Am waiting guys….