For the past 15 years I have been a Physical Training Instructor and therefore involved heavily in the practice of teaching. My pupils have been both military and civilian and I have taught many subjects, both theoretically and practically. I feel confident teaching and felt that I had come across most of the likely situations a teacher experiences both in and out of the classroom. I had always empathised well with my pupils and could encourage the unmotivated. I placed motivation, enthusiasm and professionalism high on my agenda had lots of experience in both fields and was happy to switch between coaching and teaching if and when the need arose.
I was given the enviable task of instructing 10 adolescent boys at HMS Raleigh. These young lads who were between thirteen and fifteen had been identified by the Police due to their involvement in petty crime. I introduced myself to the group and explained what I required from them. I emphasised the importance of commitment from them if they were to get the maximum from the two weeks. I quickly appreciated as I tried to march them round the base that they enjoyed rebelling against the discipline of their military environment. The programme had been organised for them to collect their equipment for the two weeks and then play football. I instigated a quick programme change and the students were marched to the Assault Course. I demonstrated every obstacle and then they were given the opportunity to go over it in slow time. As I had good technique and was physically strong all the obstacles looked easy to surmount. Some of the boys were over weight and most were not physically strong and due to this they all were surprised that they found difficulty with nearly every obstacle. They had all gone around the course once and lots needed to be physically dragged or pushed. The stronger members of the group were still very confident of their own ability and still showed an arrogance of the environment they had been invited to attend. I issued a challenge that the fittest three of them could race me and I would give them a 30-second start on me. If they could beat me them I would jump in the river, but if I won they would have to do the same. They readily accepted the challenge and were rejoicing at their imminent victory. I easily won and made a conscious effort not to gloat. After all the students jumped in I dived in and explained that being cold and wet was a part being a Commando. I reflect on this teaching period and appreciate that certain individuals would deem the lesson harsh, but it did achieve the desired effect. By the completion of the lesson I had gained their respect through physical prowess and they were now responsive to my teaching. After this lesson I realised I had the necessary skills to control what could have been a difficult situation. It was apparent from speaking to the teachers, after the first days activities had finished, that they felt they had little control over the students and also little incentive to actively seek control. After reflecting