SAN DIEGO --
High school educators, counselors and administrators from the Recruiting Stations Los Angeles and Sacramento, Calif., area participated in an Educator Workshop July 7 through 11 aboard various Marine Corps installations in San Diego.
The Educator Workshop Program gathers teachers from across the nation to provide a glimpse into what it takes to become a Marine, what obstacles prospective Marines may face when choosing to join the armed services. Discussions about education benefits, job opportunities, as well as a chance to speak face to face with recruits Marines and drill instructors are all offered during the program.
By the end of the week educators should walk away with a better understanding of the Marine Corps, and both the tangible and intangible benefits it provides, explained Capt. Jeremy McLean, the assistant operations officer for 2nd Battalion, Recruit Training Regiment. .
Each day the educators [B1DR1] faced different challenges, scenarios and opportunities to garner a better understanding of what one of their students might feel in a variety of situations.
The first day focused heavily on the process of making of Marines.
As an introduction to the level of stress a recruit feels throughout training, drill instructors swarmed the educators upon arrival at the legendary yellow footprints. They barked commands at the anxious teachers and counselors to look forward, stand up straight, and answer questions with speed, volume and intensity.
“I expected the drill instructors to be intense, but they were way more respectful then people think they are,” said Traci Davis, the deputy superintendent of Washoe County school district. “They were in no way easy by any stretch of the imagination, but they have a job to do and have to keep kids in line. I think it is understandable.”
Teachers were then taught about the different steps of initial training – education, physical fitness, swim qualification, leadership, teamwork and confidence.
“I did not know the drill instructors give them education lessons in [recruit training],” said Davis. “It was very exciting to see they did closed reads, and a kind of think, pair and share style of teaching. I didn’t realize they were so in depth (with what) they teach them and then connect the story or lesson to a real life situation.”
On day two educators looked into the everyday life of Marines from a variety of job fields. They also spoke with a panel of female Marines to address concerns unique to women that their female students may have when considering life as a Marine.
Following the briefs, attendees traveled to the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., flight line where they boarded an MV-22B Osprey, looked into the cockpit of an F/A-18 Hornet, and held equipment used by aircraft rescue and firefighters.
“I liked Miramar because it was a base where they work and lived so you got to see the library, the education center and where they relax, which is something you don’t really think about when you think Marine Corps,” said Mark Hatch, a social studies teacher at John Burrows High School in Burbank, Calif. “As an educator, I really liked the commandant’s reading list. One of the things revealed to me from this whole (experience) is the amount of opportunities they have. Basically there is no excuse for you to not be able to further your education after joining. I didn’t know there was such a large focus on personal education.”
Day three was comprised of field training and an introduction to Marines in combat roles.
Participants teamed up for a 12-event Leadership Reaction Course, typically reserved for recruit training, where they had to work to together to overcome physical obstacles.
“I think the [LRC] mimicked real life activities you do for leadership and team-building exercises,” said Davis. “There were points where you of course disagreed with the teammate, and you wanted to yell at them. Then you came together to solve a problem. I thought it was a good way to teach collaboration, because everyone had to act as both a leader and a follower throughout the course.”
After having their group teamwork tested, they headed to the firing range to test their individual skills with a rifle. At the range educators were shown basic combat marksmanship and had the chance to send some rounds down range using an M16-A4 service rifle.
“For me I think the biggest take-aways from the rifle experience were the discipline, the aptitude to learn, and the commitment of the Marines to help every (recruit) succeed,” said Davis. “It was unacceptable for them to fail, the drill instructor may have to give them an intervention or think outside the box to help them make it through. For example, I had trouble with the sitting position for firing, but they worked with each individual to make it work in the best way possible for the specific person.”
On the final day the group witnessed an event every recruit dreams of and less than one percent of Americans ever get to experience, Marine Corps recruit training graduation. This is the moment a recruit becomes one of the few, one of the proud – a Marine.
“Being able to speak with the recruits from the time they start recruit training to the end at the warrior breakfast and seeing their different steps in training and points of view was incredible,” said Byron Green, the superintendent of Washoe County school district. “It sounds weird but now I have a new understanding of what it is to be a Marine.”
For more information regarding future educators workshops please contact your local Marine Corps Recruiting Station.