Becoming Teacher Tina
Updated: Mar 16, 2020
Hey guys! I am so excited to share my thoughts and passion of dental hygiene with you. I have been in dental hygiene education for over 13 years and have loved every minute of it. During this time, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to educate student professionals on several every aspect of dental hygiene care, teaching almost every course a student can take. Radiology, dental materials, clinical instrumentation, head and neck anatomy, ethics, medical emergencies and my specialty oral anesthesia.
Over the last decade, I have developed a true passion for teaching. Not just teaching student professionals but licensed professionals as well. Speaking for small groups of hygienists in my local community to international speaking with Smiles at Sea.
My philosophy is learning should be fun! If you’ve ever taken a course of mine, you will know this. I often break out into song and dance or improve on the fly with every day analogies to help the topic stick. Helping others develop and hone their skill set to be the best oral health care provider they can be is extremely fulfilling.
This is my calling!
To help and educate others. That is why I began Teacher Tina RDH and started a social media platform. To help you! The always learning and growing professional. To share tips on how to improve your clinical practice, or dust of the information you learned at one point but forgot. I am here to help you.
The journey to get to this place in my life has had its twists and turns. Long before I became a dental hygienist my plan was to become a public relations manager for athletes. My dream was to work for Nike and become a liaison for athletes. Combining my love of athletic attire with the spirit of competition. Of course, I was an unfocused 19-year-old college student. I was more interested in the social aspect of the college experience (where’s the PARTY!!) instead of working towards a professional goal. So, I quit college and worked several minimum wage jobs. It was when I was working as a receptionist in a food processing plant that I realized there was more to life than what I was experiencing. Trust me smelling cauliflower and broccoli processing daily will make anyone question their professional choices.
One day, on my lunch hour I looked in the employment section of the local newspaper and noticed how many jobs were available in the dental field. Then not long after I had an appointment with my dental hygienist who recognized a lost and floundering 20-year-old girl. We talked about the dental hygiene profession and the type of person who may enjoy this career path. I came back and observed her working with patients. She was GREAT, she even laid back in the dental chair and let me look inside her mouth with a mirror and explorer. It was so thrilling and scary at the same time. That moment shifted my future and thus began my journey towards dental hygiene.
As I completed my course work, classmates would often come to me for tutoring and study help. They were some fo the first to say I should go into education and become a teacher. I never really thought much about it. It wasn’t until after working six years in a private dental office I began to feel itchy…. the need to do something more with my career. Because of my involvement in the American Dental Hygienists Association and the connections I made thru this amazing group professionals, I learned of an opportunity to explore the educational field. I decided to go ahead and apply for the job. I was so scared to step out of my comfort zone. I kept telling myself there is no way I would get the position. I decided to put fear on the back table and go for it. I figured, "What the heck! I could use this as an opportunity to explore what it is like to apply for this type of career in dental hygiene and just maybe take a baby step into clinical education."
Guess what?!? They offered me the job right away (insert happy dance here). To my big surprise the college hired me to not only teach but run their first distant site. This launched my official role as a dental hygiene educator, which began in 2007 and continues to this day.
Now here it is 2020 and I am going outside my comfort zone again. I know there will be bumps along the way, but I promise to give it the very best effort. I am so excited work with all of you. Please ask you questions, share your thoughts, expand on any information I give.
Now I ask you, what is it about our wonderful profession that drew you to it? What topics are of interest to you?
Tina Clarke RDH MEd