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Bones and Body Building

Kim Chastain talks on A&P and her approach to teaching

Tyler Junior College has strong, passionate teachers. Kim Chastain is no exception. Chastain, an A&P lab specialist, is compassionate for her students and has a special teaching philosophy.

“To explain things as simply as I can…they can learn this complicated material in an easy manner,” Chastain said.

When Chastain informs her students about anatomy and physiology, she goes in depth about the bone structures, muscle groups and major organs. She offers a glimpse of what class is like as she grabbed a box and set it on the table. Then she opened it revealing the different shaped bones. She set them on the table where there were a few different shapes of the bones. There were small, long bones; long, skinny bones; and small, circular bones that took up the long black lab table. She then explained A&P.

“We learn about the anatomy for the body and how it works. So, basically, learn all the parts and the structures and how they function,” Chastain said.

Chastain has always had a heart for teaching biology. She is able to use her love for the subject to teach others and is motivated to teach her students. Her students then use their knowledge from her to carry on in other classes to succeed in their major. Chastain has an important motivation to keep her going and teaching lab.

A bundle of bones being displayed on a table. These bones are used in lab classes at TJC.

“That would be my students. Because if they can learn that creates a positive atmosphere for me to keep going. I love being around students. I love sharing my knowledge with them,” Chastain said. “And I love seeing them have that ‘AHA moment’ where they actually get something. I have had students come back after they have been through a class with me, and they would say, ‘I really didn’t understand everything, but when I got into my next A&P class, I remembered all the stuff you said, and it made a drastic difference in learning that material.’”

Chastain’s students have expressed their respect and gratitude for their teacher. Through Chastain’s teaching strategies, she can give her students a better understanding of A&P. Loving A&P helps her teach in a way that is easy to learn and experience the science of the body. Her students enjoy her teaching because Chastain uses a creative teaching approach.

“She is very knowledgeable from my experience. She is just generally good at teaching. I haven’t had any issues with her. She is really knowledgeable,” Brady Burleson, Chastain’s student and physical therapist assistant major, said.

Chastain is an inspiring teacher; she is also an ex-body builder. She did body building while she was in college. She loved body building and used the knowledge of the body while she was in body building for her now A&P professor job. Body building is a sport that uses all your muscles, which is similar to A&P where you learn about the body and how it works. 

“When I was in college, I was a body builder. I did that at the amateur level for three years. So now it is really nice to be able to take that information and that activity that I did and apply it to teach muscles,” Chastain said.

Chastain has always been passionate about biology and science. She has been at TJC for 10 years teaching about what she loves. Through the hard work she put in at Lamar University, she graduated with an undergraduate degree in psychology, and minor in biology and graduated in 1986 with a master’s as well in educational administration. She then found the A&P professor job, which she was able to use her degree in. 

“I have always had a passion for biology. My degree is actually in psychology and my minor is in biology. So, I have always taken anatomy classes and biology classes, and genetic classes in college. It was just always a fascination. So, to me, psychology and biology go hand in hand,” Chastain said.

Although Chastain has always has had a passion for biology, she first came here 11 years ago seeking a job as an assistant principal at a high school. No one was hiring, so she found TJC for a biology lab position, which was her minor in college.

“As an anatomy and physiology instructor, you provide students with the practical knowledge about a body part as well as the biological process that connect different systems within the bodies,” according to an article, ZipRecruiter “What Do Anatomy and Physiology Instructors Do.”

Chastain is a professor that not only teaches A&P, but also cares for her students being able to understand and comprehend what she is communicating to them. She wants to make her teaching interesting enough that her students remember what they learned and provide the knowledge to their future classes and employment.

“I try to transfer information over to students and help them learn to apply this all to real world actions and activities so that they can have some commonality with their patients,” Chastain said. “It is really important that they can communicate appropriately and make people feel that you are approachable and that you can ask questions, which is what I try to do.”

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