Hillsborough County teachers experience MacDill

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Michael Killian
  • 6th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

Teachers from the Hillsborough County School District visited MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., as part of a teacher immersion tour, Aug. 4.

The primary purpose of the visit was to give teachers a better understanding of the struggles that military dependents face.

Alongside multiple presentations on topics ranging from child psychology to MacDill history, the teachers saw a KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft static display, a military working dog demonstration and witnessed their fellow teachers race to put on mission-oriented protective posture gear.

Rachel Walters, the principal of Tinker K-8 School, talked about wanting to give the teachers a better perspective and understanding of their students' lives.

“Just hearing the presenters tell the teachers how important they are and how much they matter to MacDill, I think that’s great for them to hear,” said Walters. “People can be a little rough on them, but hearing those affirmations go a long way.”

During the tour, the teachers listened to presentations about child psychology, mental health and discussed how to be more understanding and open-minded in the classroom.

Kishima Garcia, chief diversity and inclusion officer assigned to the 6th Air Refueling Wing, spoke about the importance of word choice. She explained how seemingly insignificant statements to a child can have lasting impacts on their confidence and mental health into adulthood.

“Today I’ve met some of the most important groups of people I’ve ever met in my life,” said Garcia. “As teachers, you can help shape future leaders. And you can help shape visionaries who go on to do great things every single day, whether they know it or not.”

The goal of this tour was to help all teachers in the Hillsborough County District, not just from Tinker K-8 School. The teachers had a sneak peek into the life of military members, and learned about their students from a different perspective.