MHS Welcomes New AFJROTC Teacher
Hazel Gates, junior, who is a part of the AFJROTC program, where students begin to learn about life in the armed forces while still in high school, said that having a female teacher was a welcome change from last year.
“I do plan on going into the Air Force,” Gates said. “So it’s really nice to talk to her about requirements for females going into the military.”
Gates said that last year, when Colonel Gary Wamble and seniors were their only points of expertise, it would’ve been much more awkward to have conversations specific to how girls qualified for and lived in the military.
“I feel like it’s better for a lot of people, because you have the option of either talking to a male teacher or a female teacher,” Gates said. “It makes the female students probably feel more comfortable as well, since they can relate to Major Zuber more, and I can relate to her more too.”
However, the administration didn’t choose Major Zuber for the sole purpose of having a female teacher in the program. Freshman Principal Carl Hudson said it was really only based on the qualifications and experience she had to offer students in the AFJROTC program.
“We look for the best teaching candidates in all of our positions,” Hudson said. “Major Zuber was one of five candidates who applied, and when she went through the interview process, myself, Colonel Wamble and Dr. Mathison thought she was the best candidate.”
Hudson said that because all the AFJROTC teachers prior to this have been male, he asked Major Zuber about what she would bring to the table to help the program change and grow.
“I remember asking her what she was going to do to be a role model for all the students in the program,” Hudson said. “Not just for the young men, but for the young ladies as well.”
Because the curriculum hasn’t changed at all for the program’s classes, Hudson hopes students who are taking the class again will have a different point of view on what they’re taught.
“Her perspective and her experiences will, I think, help the young men and women broaden their perspectives,” Hudson said.
Major Zuber also said her 22 years in the Air Force has affected the way she teaches students.
“After 22 years in the Air Force, I believe my students would probably say I hold to my standards once I set an expectation,” Major Zuber said. “I believe most people are capable of more than what they personally realize, and one goal I have is to support each student in realizing their full potential.”
Major Zuber said she, too, was in the AFJROTC program as a high schooler and tries to emulate the encouragement and support she felt from those teachers in her own classroom; she cites her teachers’ help as a reason she became an officer.
“Since my previous work involved instruction with adult learners, transitioning to teach ‘teen’ learners has been a new adventure,” Major Zuber said. “It’s not just about the four years in high school, it’s about building future leaders in every aspect of life.”
She also said being the first female teacher in the program will help the students be able to grow.
“I believe it’s a great dynamic to have both a male and female instructor in this type of program,” Major Zuber said. “Offering students leadership perspectives and experiences from both genders is unique and there are few female AFJROTC instructors out there.”
However, Major Zuber said she doesn’t like to put a heavy focus on the female students just because she can relate to them more. She said she realizes that differing ideas can sprout due to difference in gender, but she said she can help the girls out with any lingering questions they might have.
“Our program is focused on building future leaders by creating good citizens,” Major Zuber said. “I think that by offering a different perspective in the program, our students can become more well-rounded.”
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