Drop!

My teacher isn't like most teachers. While others teach through workbooks or lectures my teacher teaches us through push-ups. He's not a physical education teacher or a coach, but he is my Naval Science Instructor at the Delaware Military Academy. His name is Gunnery Sergeant Lemke, in short, Gunny. He was a Gunnery Sergeant in the Marines, a drill sergeant yelling at new recruits to pick up the pace, but now he's a Naval Science Instructer yelling at cadets in my high school to pick up their books.

Of course as a NSI (Naval Science Instructor), the primary lesson he teaches is discipline. If anyone in my school starts acting immature or irresponsible the first word you'll hear from Gunny's mouth is: drop. If anyone in my school shows public displays of affection: drop. If anyone gives a hint of attitude: drop. The push-ups, however, aren't just there for show. They remain a reminder that not only is good behavior rewarded, but bad behavior is punished likewise. The push-ups remind us that we will have to either push all year or grow up. Wisely, most people choose the latter.

Not everyone grows up, however, and unluckily that affects the whole class, or platoon. Gunny then uses this opportunity to teach another valuable lesson to us: teamwork. If someone isn't responsible the whole class goes through something Gunny calls “team-spirit”. In other words, more push-ups, but as a class. We do this until we're tired enough we could faint, but one thing is sure; after it's completed we become a team. We begin to notice that we're only as strong as our weakest member so we push each other to become better. Partly to save our own skins, yes, but in the end it's all done for the benefit of the team. We learn to always watch for each other, and to make sure everyone's at their best at all times.

Gunny is able to teach us these life lessons for one reason: his own personal experience. During Naval Science, one way or another Gunny is lead to tell a story. He tells us his times in the Marines and his time as a father and he always has a purpose with each story he tells. One story would be when in the Marines he was faced with a decision as a company chief. His fellow marines expected him to let his wife (also in the Marines) skip her turn at work, but Gunny told us that he made her do it anyway just to prove the people in his company wrong and to tell them that he would treat everyone equally. He reminded us that we couldn't let anything stand in the way of what is right, and that we should always abide by honor.

In the end, Gunny doesn't teach us just the things we need to get an A in his class; he teaches life lessons necessary for life. To be honorable and responsible is what I learned during his class most of all. All those push-ups that my platoon have done were a way to teach us discipline and teamwork and all of the stories that we've heard from him were told to teach us valuable lessons. Gunny isn't like most teachers. He doesn't teach through workbooks or lectures. He teaches by using his own life as an example to us all which is why he should be the Educator of the year.





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