Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Local Teachers learn Deployment Ops

link U.S. Air Force Photo: Airman 1st Class Chip Slack

Educators from the local community sample various Meals Ready to Eat during the Teachers Understanding Deployment Operations event Aug. 12 at Cannon Air Force Base. An MRE contains up to 3,000 calories and members of the educational community were able to get a taste of what Airmen eat while deployed.

27th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

The Department of Defense offers countless programs for its uniformed families. From adjusting to military life for new spouses, school liaisons programs to help bridge the gap between military dependents and the civilian school systems to classes and seminars containing pertinent information necessary to raising a family on a military instillation, the DoD spares no expense when it comes to providing for its military families. Despite these varying programs geared towards military members and their families, there is a rather large and key group that is missing who will spend equal, if not more time, with our youngest Air Commandos: their teachers.

Over 90 teachers from the Clovis and Portales school districts took part in an event specifically designed for them. The teachers became the students when it came to all things military during the Teachers Understanding Deployment Operations program held Aug. 11-12 at Cannon Air Force Base.

“Bringing educators on base and giving them a glimpse of what we, as a special operations base, do on a daily basis is crucial,” explained Lt. Col. Joyce Storm, 27th Special Operations Mission Support Group deputy commander. “The reason we exist is to go downrange and deploy, so this was an eye-opener for many local teachers. I think it helped open the lines of communication so that we can work together as a cohesive team to give our military children the best support we can.”

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, a public school primary education teacher will spend 790 teaching hours with his/her students per year, 709 hours in lower secondary education, and 664 hours in upper secondary education. Men and women who serve in the education field spend large amounts of time with children during crucial stages of their behavioral and cognitive development. Under normal circumstances, teachers may have their hands full with these young children; but throw in a military child who is enduring the stress and confusion of a parent being deployed, and the entire process changes.

“There are different stages and phases that kids can go through when a parent is deployed,” said Storm. “Feelings from numbness and confusion to actually being angry, acting out and withdrawing completely. TUDOS puts a little bit of science behind the psychology and the emotional process children go through, so I think we taught them that and armed them with some insight on how to identify potential problems.”

The main goal of TUDOS is providing educators with the tools and knowledge for assisting children who are facing deployments within their families and giving them a broader sense of what that truly means.

“Having all of the information, all of the contact names and numbers, right there in front of you was a big help,” stated Susan Dickinson, an 8th grade teacher at Gattis Middle School in Clovis.

In addition to the learning aspect of the event, teachers were able to get a first-hand experience as to what a deployed parent goes through during the typical deployment process. They were issued protective body armor, sampled Meals Ready to Eat and experienced the various pre-deployment briefings that active duty personnel attend.

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