Teachers learn the drill...for real!

By Donna McCollum - bio | email

CUSHING, TX (KTRE) - "I'm going to tell you what to do and when to do it," Tony Cruz yells with intimidation. He uses his 10 1/2 years of experience as a Marine Corp drill instructor on Cushing teachers. He can't go very long without yelling out a command. The Nacogdoches firefighter and occasional substitute teacher is building character and team spirit.

No lollygagging is allowed. "Are you doing it when you're supposed to or are you going to wait until everybody else does it so you will know what to do?," Cruz asks of a teacher that certainly wished the ability to become invisible. Seconds of silence that seemed like minutes passed.   "Too much for you to process, you're a teacher right," Cruz snaps before returning to business.

No matter what's said, don't cop an attitude. "Do I owe you money? There's got to be a reason you're staring at me," Cruz yells to another teacher. And for sure don't break the rules. "Have you got gum in your mouth?," Cruz asks in disgust of a teacher who was caught smacking on her gum.

Setting rules, giving orders, having someone tell you what, when and how to do things. Sounds like teachers with their students. "You're kinda learning what the school kids got to go through," teacher Linda Sides admitted.

Teachers are reminded learning new skills can be difficult. Leaders are given commander roles. "Present arms," yelled one teacher. "Right face," practiced another. When it's time to go to the next command some commanders rely on cheat cards. Another stands in total silence and eventually says, "I have no clue what else to say."

It's hot. It's muggy. It's conditions most teachers don't even want to deal with, but today they're doing so in order to become a team. "Is it hot? yes. Are you tired? Yes, you're tired,but do you know what? You can still achieve the goal you are doing,"  Cruz explained.

The Back to Basic lessons start making sense. "We all have the same goal which is to educate kids and to make their lives better," high school teacher Becky Talk noted.

Cruz has the upper hand on his squads, but when he gets home the jarhead may end up in the galley. There's a Cushing teacher holding the higher ranking of wife. "Whose the boss at your house?," is asked of Dee Cruz.  "Me," she answers with frankness. Her co-workers belt out with laughter.

A sense of humor got these recruits through the day and ready to "fall in" for a new school year.

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