Let’s begin with the ‘Bottom line’: You are not a Drill Instructor. Even if you were a Drill Instructor on active duty in the military, you’re not one now.
You have (or should be in the process of) transforming yourself into a professional instructor with the much more complex role of imparting information to people that are part of your Neighborhood Protection Plan/Team or clients at your school, with the objective of providing the best training you can and have the most information retained as possible. This will not happen if the students are primarily focused on staying out of the path of your ire.
You cannot reach your objective of NPT or student development trying to imitate R.Lee Ermy in, “Full Metal Jacket.”
Because A: You don’t have ‘their ass’, they’re either team members or paying customers. B: You cannot, ‘PT them until they die!’ and you cannot expect them to either stay as a team member or provide a good reference to others looking for skills you teach or to be a return customer if you treat them like hammered dog crap and don’t demonstrate professional behavior and respect for them as human beings that are stepping forward to help in dark times.
Let’s review: You’re not a Drill Instructor. Full stop.
Here’s a key to effective instruction that a lot of people miss when attempting to pass along skills: The training itself can be used as a tool to teach the student the significance of mistakes by repetition. For example, you’re evaluating the skills necessary for setting up a patrol base, and you’ve instructed the students not to make noise or allow their equipment to reflect sunshine. You see and hear them beyond what you know is the standard. You don’t need to go over, line them up, and chew them out for being stupid. All you have to do is tell them thev’ve been spotted, and need to run a hundred meters or so and set up again. After a few times, they’ll get the idea, and they’ll understand both your method and your professionalism. You let the training itself kick their butts, because your job to facilitate learning not only by expertise, but by personal example when teaching. Your personal life cannot impact your demeanor. Having a bad time with the spouse? Oh, well. Worried about paying bills? Doesn’t matter in the class. You’re highly stressed? Welcome to the club. Regarding, ‘stupid questions’, remember this: You might have heard the question 5,000 times; it’s most likely the first time the student has asked it. Unless you see habitual questions from a student on subjects or tasks that the class already knows, don’t shut them down. Scold in private; praise in public. It works in training, too.
Remember: You are training people that will become trainers one day. The people you train will mimic your behavior with their own students, and the primary object is to get people’s skills up to par, not fulfill some fantasy.
Conversely, you are also not, ‘their best friend.’ Your NPT or paying students should (and typically do) respect you as the Subject Matter Expert during the class. Don’t try to become too familiar, because the old axiom is true, “familiarity breeds contempt.” Once you lose the respect of your team or students, you’ll play hell getting it back. Being approachable, ie, easy to talk to, is the goal.
You’ll be most effective presenting your classes by being professional, approachable while ensuring you clearly communicate standards of performance and demonstrating your desire for your students to get as much as they can from the class.