SHU Student Builds Mentor Skills the Marine Corps Way
Meredith Homza, a sixth-year educational leadership candidate, has taken an unusual approach to enhancing her leadership and teamwork skills: she participated in an educator’s workshop at the United States Marine Corps’ Recruit Depot on Parris Island, South Carolina.
Homza’s principal at J.M. Wright Technical High School in Stamford told her about the workshop, which is open not only to teachers, but also to school counselors, career advisors, superintendents and people in police academies. She applied to the competitive program, along with eight of her fellow teachers from the high school; they were accepted and six of them attended.
The program aims to enhance participants’ skills in leadership and teamwork. It also tests their physical skills; though participants can opt out of the physical activities, no one did.
High school students who are interested in joining the Army can have difficulty finding mentors with whom to discuss it. They are entering a world most people don’t experience, so teachers who go through the Marine Corps’ programs become a valuable resource for them.
In addition to the Marine Corps, the Army, Navy and Air Force conduct educational leadership workshops as well.
“I would highly recommend this program to any aspiring teacher and administrator. On the one hand, having access to this world that only some can fully experience was not only eye-opening and humbling, but it was also an honor,” said Homza. “On the other hand, as an educator, I have always believed that the more experiences you have, the better chance you have connecting to the students in your classroom.
“We live in a world where ‘connection’ is key to survival in our profession. In 2018, teaching and learning cannot just be about the technology; there still needs to be the ‘human connection’ for students (and instructors) to succeed. The experiences I had and the people I interacted with at Parris Island have allowed me to further engage my students and co-workers in conversations about leadership, teamwork, and communication. In education, isn’t ‘creating opportunities’ what it is all about?”
Student Meredith Homza (orange tank top) participates in the educator's workshop.