333rd TRS Mad Ducks add to the instructor flock

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Trenten Walters
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs

The 333rd Training Squadron and instructional coaches from the Biloxi School District have partnered to broaden military instructor capabilities.

This community partnership, aligned with the 81st Training Wing’s priority of focused training, enhances the quality of education military students receive by equipping instructors with more techniques and skills to teach in a diverse classroom.

Instructional coaches use their extensive experience as educators to serve as mentors, helping teachers stay up to date on the newest teaching techniques and technologies. They also ensure consistency in the delivery of teaching curriculum across different teachers, striving to maintain uniformity.

“As a training squadron, we’re always looking to better the students’ experience, so we’re starting with the ones giving the school experience,” said Lt. Col. Nicholas Kuc, 333rd TRS commander. “We pull our instructors internally in the Air Force, out of their operational career field, and into the training squadron. Most people don't have experience in teaching, so they’ll go through an instructor internship period within the basic instructor course. As with any job, it takes time to master, so we sought to see if teachers in the local community were willing to serve as mentors to our instructors.”

The mentoring process begins with the instructional coaches observing instructors on podium. After the observation period, instructors and coaches converse, sharing feedback, tips and tricks or different styles of teaching or classroom management. Instructional coaches may also introduce a new piece of technology that might be considered for use in the classroom.

Approximately 20 of Keesler’s instructors have experienced coaching so far. The experience has validated that Keesler’s recent technical training transformations and pivots to hands-on learning models reflect the state of education across the country.

“It's all about trying to be hands-on and employ project-based learning. That's really what helps learning stick,” said KC Curtis, Biloxi School District instructional coach. “Learning and teaching are the same regardless of the age of the student or the content. It's about increasing the engagement, wanting our students to be there and for them to desire to be there.”

This partnership underscores the dedication to education at Keesler and within the local community. This pilot program and discussion of future iterations are expected to leave lasting results.