Re: Need advice/new guy to area's dojo
I think you need to understand that aikido is in origin a Japanese martial art and is sometimes taught in a Japanese way, even in the US. This is especially the case if the instructors are/were originally Japanese.
The sentiments of your third paragraph ("A potential student walks up to a building...") might be valid in the US, but are not valid here in Japan, where there is a long tradition of personal struggle involved in gaining new psycho-physical skills.
Because aikido is still fundamentally Japanese, I think you need to look again at your "mental map" of teaching & learning. Otherwise do something else, where the physical input required and and the outcome expected are much clearer to a westerner.