Monday, November 02, 2009


As I write this I am dealing with an incredible amount of frustration.

I got my grade back from the lab practical we took this past Friday night, and I tanked it. The grade was bad enough, in fact, that it took my weighted class average down over 6 points.

Realizing that we still have 3 written exams and the final, plus one other lab practical, in the big picture this shouldn’t be a deal breaker. Or should it?

The problem with this lab exam that really trashed me was the histology and cytology stuff – much more of it than anyone expected. More than half of the exam, in fact, consisted of cell and tissue samples that had to be identified. For me, this was the most difficult thing we’d done because of my vision; without having to really make adjustments to the microscope settings I had trouble identifying most of the samples. And we were not allowed to make changes to the magnification.

I had such a hard time, in fact, that I mis-identified more than half of the samples that were presented. Plus, I made a couple of really stupid mistakes on other things that I have no excuse for. So I am really mostly angry at myself.

I really hope I can fix this over the course of the rest of the semester; if I can’t, then I’m going to have some serious trouble in front of me.

And I expected to do so much better in this class than what I’m doing. After all, I have really good practical knowledge of the human body; I have to as I deal with it every time I go to work. But this is killing my confidence. And it’s so stupid that this is happening.

Martha thinks I have a case for ADA accommodation. I don’t. In fact, I believe that if I file a grievance over this, it will get thrown back in my face and the school will support their instructor. After all, the argument they’ll use is that I’m not the only one with restricted vision; the instructor wears glasses as do 4 or 5 other people in the class. And I don’t think they had the same problems with the slides than I did. I believe I’ll be told that I didn’t study enough.

I’ll turn the whine mode off now.


Karen Brook Westhaver said...

Not ALLOWED to make changes in magnification??? That's just NUTS!!! So, iow, the microscope magnification was likely set to the instructor's particular visual acuity. Unbelievable. Like this would happen in a *real* lab environment. I really like your son's suggestions about this in his comment on FaceBook. Sound solid and surely not boo-hoo at ALL. Also, you've been talking about dealing with hinky vision issues for some time now (long before you began A&P) and somehow making do. But when it comes to discerning/identifying such minute differences in cells, that's a WHOLE different story from gross visual ability....even reading. Yup Walt...this is wrong. I so hope there's a reasonable fix for it. Why are no changes in magnification allowed? Totally nuts. Good heavens...can you imagine in the *real* world lab techs reading slides at ONE magnification setting only and thereby making their best guess at what's wrong with somebody? Pretty scarey...pretty dumb. Don't let it get you down, Walt. Again, I liked J's systematic approach to the problem and moving upwards from there. But then again, you know the variables for the institution you're dealing with and how best to go about dealing with this. You're not whining, this is a legitimate complaint. At least have some cheese to go along with it :-) Prayers your way for this...

TOTWTYTR said...

I would talk to the instructor and explain the problem. He or she might make an accommodation for you or they might not. I'm not sure that poor eyesight, unless you are legally blind, comes under the ADA. OTOH, I can't see why you can't change magnification. What would you do in the real world, tell your boss "Sorry, can't identify it and I won't change magnification, I was trained not to."?


Susie Hemingway said...

Been thinking about this a bit, it does seem crazy that you cannot adjust the lenses in anyway. I have quite difficult vision needs vari focals for some things and special glasses for the pc and some days just not needed them at all! If I use binoculous I always have to adjust the lens to suit my needs, so how strange that you can't do the same for such an important exam. Do speak with your instuctor, I would be interested to know what he has to say. Please do not lose heart over this Walt, just one part of the big will come through, I just know it.