School Counselor takes on the Marine Educators' Workshop

4:00 AM Sarah Koves 0 Comments

I get to work with some pretty amazing people.  When I found out our high school counselor was going to the Marine Educators Workshop in San Diego over spring break, I asked him if he would write about his experience and share it with me and my readers.

We have a handful of students each year go into the military, so the opportunity for our counselor to attend an event in order to learn more about the experience will provide knowledge to our students that they otherwise may not receive when making post-graduation decisions.

I have always been fascinated by military life due to family members who were or are enlisted or commissioned and due to pop culture movies.  However, I know that the experience was not for me, but I do appreciate the knowledge of what military life is like in order to share it with my students.

I would like to welcome our high school counselor, Grant.

As a school counselor, you get to hear about all the exotic locations and trips that students have planned for their spring break.  So, when I was approached by the district Marine Recruiter, Sgt. Leah Minder, to apply to take part in the Marine Educators Workshop at Marine Corps Recruiting Depot in San Diego, I jumped at the chance.  I didn’t know it would be during my school district’s spring break, so that was a bonus.  

The Marine Educators Workshop (MEW) is a week-long excursion to a Marine Recruiting Depot (either in Parris Island South Carolina or in San Diego).  High School Educators (counselors, administrators, college advisors, and teachers) apply through their area recruiting station (mine was through the Mount Pleasant recruiting station).  Once an educator is selected, their travel, food, and lodging is provided by the Marine Corps.  

Once I was onsite in San Diego, I was introduced to many Marines, and we educators were given itinerary for the week.  After the welcome dinner on Monday, we were asked to report to breakfast on Tuesday and be ready to board the bus to the Recruiting Depot (where all new enlistees are taken for processing on their first day/night of becoming a Marine) at 7:15.  

At 7:00 am we were asked to get into formation by Drill Sgt. Taveras.  He showed us and let us know (very loudly) how to get into formation, something we would do for the rest of the workshop when we wanted to board the buses or move from session to session.  

Once aboard the buses, we went to the Depot for processing just as a new enlistee would do.  We were put into formation again and treated the same as any normal recruit would do.  It was not for the faint of heart, as the Drill Sgts. took us through what that first night would  be like for the recruits.  From that point forward, through sessions or actual physical activities, we saw what Marine recruits went through for boot camp, from the first day of processing to the 54 hour excursion at the end of the 3 week of bootcamp, affectionately called “The Crucible”.  

Educators were invited to participate in live action drills ranging from the Combat Fitness Test to Marksmanship training with an M-16 assault rifle.  In between all the live action sessions, educators were informed on how to use benefits of the post 9/11 G.I. Bill to pay for higher education (and the opportunity to pass it on to children), what job skills training is offered to recruits after boot camp.  Educators also learned that for every 10 people that apply to the Marines, 9 are turned away; we also learned that to move up the ranks after the first enlistment, (4 years) Marines need to be in the top tier of their job (Military Operational Specialty).  As educators, we got to talk with recruits in all three phases of bootcamp—from the newly recruited to those that had just finished “The Crucible” which was a great experience.  

Personally, I learned that the stereotype of “people only go into the military because they couldn’t cut it in college" is 100% false.    The Marines that I met and had contact with are very intelligent and didn’t necessarily fit the college student mold.  Much like many of our high school students, these Marines didn’t know what they wanted to do, but they didn’t necessarily want to go college.  

The Marines have offered them debt free job training, opportunities for free higher education, and the ability to be productive citizens.  The question on every educators mind is/was—“but what about getting deployed to fight? How do you recruit knowing that you are likely to placed in harms way?”  And the answer to that is that the intensive, 3 week boot camp training experience is designed to prepare every recruit to navigate the high stress experiences of being deployed by teaching the importance of being part of a team.  

I would recommend this workshop to any counselor, administrator or teacher who works with high school students and is interested in helping them succeed in life.  I learned a great deal and at the same time had an awesome time.


This workshop sounds like a one-of-a-kind professional 

development experience for educators.

I learned from Grant's experience, and I hope you did too.

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