By Andrea Sutherland (Fort Carson)June 28, 2012
FORT CARSON, Colo. -- In a crowded room at the Fort Carson Education Center, Soldiers sat hunched over test papers, dictionaries and computers. Instructors Martha Hamilton and Deborah Berwick walked between the rows of students, ready to help if needed.
"We keep coming back because we like doing it," said Hamilton, who has been an instructor at the education center for 17 years.
For four days each week, Hamilton and Berwick help groups of Soldiers in the Basic Skills Education Program improve math and reading skills.
"I love teaching people who are responsible for themselves," said Berwick, who taught mathematics in public schools for 29 years before accepting the position at Fort Carson eight years ago. "I love it. I love teaching. … I don't have to call anyone's mother to check up on them and I still get the joy of seeing them progress."
A military spouse, Hamilton said she has always enjoyed teaching and made it a priority to check in with the education centers at the various installations where her husband was stationed.
In 1995, Hamilton began teaching at Fort Carson, helping Soldiers improve basic skills and prepare for career-defining tests.
"You can't beat it," she said. "The rewards are every day. It clicks for someone every day."
Soldiers in BSEP courses work to improve their math and reading skills to retake the Armed Service Vocation Aptitude Battery, which determines what jobs a Soldier is qualified for.
"I want to improve my (general technical) score to get a better job in the Army," said Spc. Gregory Coxton, 204th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.
Coxton said he was improving his reading comprehension skills in hopes of getting a job in administration or health care.
"Our goal is to get students above a (10th grade level)," Hamilton said. "Everybody works at his or her own pace."
Soldiers attend classes for six weeks, but those who finish early move to the GT prep classroom where they prepare to take the ASVAB. Soldiers needing more time to improve skills can enroll for an additional six weeks.
Throughout a Soldier's time in BSEP, Hamilton and Berwick remain vigilant.
"I've never had teachers who knew as much as these women," said Sgt. Gwendoline Little, 204th BSB, who attended BSEP courses to improve her math skills. "It's been really good. They know what they're talking about."