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FM learning center instructor perspective: this job should be illegal.

Several weeks ago, I was talking with a fellow instructor about what a privilege it is to teach at the Financial Management Learning Center. After sharing a few inspiring thoughts together, this individual turned to me and said, "This job should be illegal." Those words have resonated on my heart and mind for some time, so I decided to put some of my thoughts down on paper.

It is believed that Benjamin Franklin first coined the phrase, "Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn." As instructors, we are highly involved in the learning process. From the creation of course material, to the delivery of class lecture, we are engaged in it all. Since the moment I walked in the doors of Alice Hall, I have felt challenged to expand my depth and breadth of FM knowledge and technical expertise. As instructors, we do not learn course material to gain a surface level of knowledge, but rather a much deeper and thorough level of understanding. We are basically getting paid to study the Specialty Knowledge Test (SKT) on a daily basis. I think this past year is a great representation of this. Four out of our six eligible staff sergeants were selected for promotion to technical sergeant, a whopping 66 percent (compared to 18 percent of FMers in the Air Force). In addition, one out of the two eligible technical sergeants was selected for promotion to master sergeant, an amazing 50 percent (compared to 22 percent of FMers in the Air Force). I can't believe as instructors we get paid to learn as much as we can about our career field, and then get tested for promotion. This job should be illegal!

In my 11 years of service, there have been only a few people to ever provide me true, honest, and candid feedback about my faults, my wife and my students. When my wife points out my faults it makes me a better husband and strengthens our marriage. When my students expose my faults, it makes me a better airman and instructor. Every single day, we cross paths with hundreds of non-prior students who wouldn't have an issue pointing out a problem with my dress and appearance; this is exactly what I expect them to do. This fiscal year alone, more than 566 students enrolled in our Financial Management Apprentice and Craftsman courses. On an average day of instructing, I spend roughly 9 hours teaching 10 to 12 students. For three years now, my airmanship has consistently been refined by hundreds of airmen willing to point out my strengths and weaknesses. It amazes me to think about the leadership advantages this job provides; it really should be illegal.

One of the greatest privileges I hold dear is the ability to mold and shape the future airmen of our career field. In many instances, when we interact with our 3-level students, it is the first interaction they have with a non-commissioned officer where two-way communication is accepted and encouraged. Students begin to open up and ask career-minded questions, and a trusting bond is formed. Mentorship opportunities will arise and before you even realize what happened, you have students starting to emulate how you look professionally, your actions, and how you handle yourself. As instructors representing the financial management career field, we cannot get this mentorship wrong; it is not optional. What a privilege and honor it is to be an instructor; this job should be illegal.

by TSgt Gareth Davis, FMLC
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Title Annotation:ARTICLES
Author:Gareth, Davis
Publication:Air Force Comptroller
Date:Sep 22, 2013
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