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Educator’s Workshop: Failure to Adapt.

Posted By: Rebecca Cullers 03-30-11


The Drill Instructor then pointed to a set of metal doors embossed with the Marine Corps Seal. He shouted “DO NOT RUN, WALK!” but just the power and force of his voice made the first few women in the front of our line start to run. They ran ahead and then slowed, looking backward, confused that the rest of us weren’t running.

He shouted a second time, “DO NOT RUN, WALK!”

All but one stopped running and started walking. The final one, spooked and actually ran faster. She ran all the way up to the doors.

He yelled again, “DO NOT RUN! WALK, WALK, WALK TO THE DOOR!”

But she had already made it there and stood, clearly out of sorts. As we made it up to her she said, “Why weren’t you guys running?”

Someone beside her answered, “Because he said to walk.”

Another female educator chimed in, “He said it like, several times.”

“Oh,” she said, “I didn’t hear him.” She turned to the woman next to her. “Did you hear him?” The other woman nodded. Everyone had heard him. It wasn’t like he was hard to hear.

It seemed like she had heard but the shouting had upset her so much that she couldn’t register the words. She was shifting her weight from one foot to the next and fidgeting. From two rows back, I could also see that she was sweating though her sprint was less than 100 feet. She had “failure to adapt” written all over her.

I realized she was one of those recruits that Drill Sgt. Lopez had talked about. Someone who had gone most of their life without being yelled at. I came from a heavy-yelling background, so it had been hard for me to believe when Drill Sgt. Lopez had said it. But here, right in front of me, was my first example. Those recruits who have trouble with yelling on Parris Island will have trouble with yelling on the battlefield, so they have to become accustomed to it. That’s one of the main reasons they yell, to get recruits used to stress.

As I was already accustomed to yelling, I was actually thinking how NICE the Drill Instructors were during our time on the island. They didn’t use profanity or mocking words. They were just REALLY adamant that recruits make their beds, or run in place, or pick up a canteen. But in all of the interactions with recruits that we saw, they were never disrespectful.

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