Walking through inspiration

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Suzie Plotnikov
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs

As Airmen make their way to class, walking through the Personnel Apprentice Course hallway, their eyes dart from wall to wall as they take in inspirational quotes, filling them with a sense of pride and purpose in the Air Force.

A once desolate hallway filled with outdated photos now shines as a sign of inspiration not only for the students but as a reason for the instructors to help their students become successful Airmen.  

“I see students pause for a second and take a look at the hallway,” said Tech. Sgt. Michelle Kautz, 335th Training Squadron PAC NCO in charge. “At the end of the day we talk about some of the quotes that are on there and one of the biggest quotes we talk about is ‘we are the next generation’, which is basically a message for them to be proud of being the next generation that will make a difference and impact the world.”

The hallway is just one of many ways the PAC instructors exceed expectations to help motivate the students. The hallway project was first envisioned by Master Sgt. Glenn Davis, previous PAC instructor, but the current instructors have carried his legacy of positivity from the hallway into the classroom.

“I’ve been an instructor for three years now and it’s probably one of the best jobs I’ve had in my career,” said Kautz. “I like to inspire and develop students. I not only want to teach my students, but I want them to remember me for how I impacted them personally and professionally.”

Each instructor has their own reason to help motivate the PAC students but for Kautz she wants to pass on the mentorship she has gotten from the many supportive leaders and mentors she has encountered throughout her career.

“I think it’s very important in a very early time in their career, my students are able to instill the Air Force core values along with their personal core values so one day when they become leaders themselves, they too can inspire others to be the best they can be,” said Kautz.

The instructors strive to set the students up for success in several different ways. The students get an additional hour of class and are assigned study partners who are able to challenge each other.

“We do a lot of additional stuff, but if we see a student is struggling we try to cater to them more,” said Jamie Brown, 335th TRS PAC instructor supervisor. “If they’re a visual learner we’ll draw more stuff on the board and if they’re auditory we’ll talk more to them individually.”

In previous years, an average of nine students failed the course a year. However, through positivity, motivation and inspiration, last year they only had six students who failed and this year they only had one failure in the last seven months.

“If we didn’t work as a team we would fail,” said Brown. “These positive things in the hallway might not mean a whole lot to just anyone who looks at them, but when we talk to students and ask what it means to them, we get the same responses - they love it.”