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To be considering teaching in prisons?

(22 Posts)
frustratedworkingmum Sat 16-Feb-13 23:14:48

I am not sure why this appeals to me. I am not a qualified teacher but have been working as a college lecturer since september. One of the guys at the college mentioned he taught at the local prison, i was a bit hmm and "are you actually mad? " about it? But the more i think about it, the more i think i would enoy it - i prefer one to one teaching and small group teaching. I niavely think that if someone in prison is given the opportunity of learning they may respond really positively? There is another part of me that thinks well, fuck that, they commited a crime so gave up their rights and privaliges of normal society blah blah.

So, am i slightly deranged to even consider this? I mean, in not a "do gooder" neither am i a "tough cookie" in fact im a bit of a wuss.

I enjoy my job but am frustrated by the whole corporate "way" of it and lousy management. Its also not secure as im only supply at present.

How would i even begin to look into this?

shineypeacock Sat 16-Feb-13 23:20:14

Most prisons have an education dept, you can look for jobs on Hmp websites, however some C/D cat prisons are linked to local colleges. Just do a google. I worked in a prison for 18 months and loved it, you meet all sorts of people, who have done all sorts if things, one piece if advice i was given in my first week was, the court punished them, we are here to make sure the punishement is carried out, not to punish further. Give it a go, offenders do education because they want to!

LessMissAbs Sat 16-Feb-13 23:22:16

One of the functions of prison (often overlooked in limited budgets) is to re-educate and return to society as fully functioning members thereof. So of course YANBU. I think one-to-one teaching could be quite draining, but if you like it, go for it.

Just be careful because there are so many instances of women being sort of brainwashed into relationships with prisoners...I often think there must be a high proportion of prisoners who know which buttons to push.

WorraLiberty Sat 16-Feb-13 23:23:42

I can't think why you think you might BU.

But WRT to There is another part of me that thinks well, fuck that, they commited a crime so gave up their rights and privaliges of normal society blah blah.

You'll have to lose that attitude.

People are put in prison for many different reasons, including awful circumstance.

Either way, if they've been found guilty and are doing their time...that should be all that matters to you.

frustratedworkingmum Sat 16-Feb-13 23:24:20

thanks shiney, thats what i figured - if they are chosing to do it they will engage more. I teach at a FE college and many of the students are just there because their parents make them, they have no aspiration to use the qualification i am teaching them and its a bit disheartening sometimes. I want to make a difference to people and i think this might be a good way - but here is the mad bit, i suffer from anxiety hmm but i thin i can compartmentalise it and do a good job.

frustratedworkingmum Sat 16-Feb-13 23:25:53

worra, i agree with you and i would need to be sure i COULD drop that attitude before i did it. Id like to think i could

deleted203 Sat 16-Feb-13 23:26:03

I think I would be wary if you consider yourself 'a bit of a wuss', personally. Teaching in a prison can be very rewarding - but it's a specialist job that required great toughness of mind and strength of character.

You are in an environment that contains a lot of chaotic personalities in a small, tightly pressured place. Frustration and aggression can spill over into violence sometimes, either in personal attacks or in prison riots, that involve collective anger and pose a great threat to the security of the prison. Staff need to be fully trained in how to de-escalate pressure situations, and to defend themselves physically if necessary.

There is a risk that teachers can be emotionally manipulated by prisoners, or "groomed" into bringing in drugs, mobile phones or weapons. It is important to remain aware of where the boundaries lie between staff and prisoners at all times, while treating the prisoners in a fair and friendly manner where appropriate. Would you find it easy to cope if a prisoner developed a 'crush' on you?

Finally, prison employees work in a closed environment, surrounded by dangerous, violent individuals. Working in prison often requires getting used to foul or even abusive language. Other employees might have hardened or indifferent attitudes, especially those who have been there for any length of time. The negative environment can discourage even the most positive individual who is exposed to it on a daily basis.

Whilst I wouldn't necessarily discourage you from applying if it's something you are really keen on I think you need to think about whether you would honestly be able to cope with some of these possible problems. There would be a lot of pressure.

kim147 Sat 16-Feb-13 23:26:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Euphemia Sat 16-Feb-13 23:27:53

How about teaching Adult Literacies first, and see how you get on?

kim147 Sat 16-Feb-13 23:28:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

frustratedworkingmum Sat 16-Feb-13 23:31:06

sowornout, you sound like you are speaking from experience.

I did have to smile to myself regarding a prisoner getting a crush on me though smile I really dont think that will be an issue! lol

You have given me a lot to think about though, bad language wouldnt faze me in the slightest but that would be the least of my worries wouldn't it?

I wouldnt want to just walk in with no training, which incedentally is what i have had to do in FE. Am assuming that would training would be available?

kim147 Sat 16-Feb-13 23:43:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

kim147 Sat 16-Feb-13 23:45:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

steppemum Sat 16-Feb-13 23:49:39

Op - you have really inspired me. i am a teacher, been SAHM for years and I want to teach again. I am thinking about other types of teaching, and teaching in prisons is something that appeals to me, but I hadn't thought of it before.

Like the idea of adult literacy too.

hmm will go off and have a look at some stuff

will keep in mind what you said kim

Thank you!

kim147 Sat 16-Feb-13 23:51:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

deleted203 Sat 16-Feb-13 23:59:30

frustrated - I've never worked in an adult prison, but I've worked in young offenders institutions and in EBD schools with teens who have been permanently excluded from basically everywhere else! It's a tough job, and from my work with young offenders I would say that many offenders struggle with the frustrations that come from being locked in with a lot of other chaotic personalities when they may well have major problems of their own. This causes a lot of tensions. The atmosphere is frequently volatile and staff tend to be the focal point for many offenders to take out their frustrations on.

I didn't have any particularly bad experiences - but it is a tough working environment, is what I'm really saying. I am assuming that adult prisons have very similar problems.

chandellina Sun 17-Feb-13 00:07:31

A friend of mine did this for a couple of years, in New York. Probably the worst thing for her was students masturbating in class and otherwise being completely inappropriate. Apart from that sort of thing, she did feel she was helping guys who'd gotten a raw deal.

complexnumber Sun 17-Feb-13 09:53:56

I taught in a YOI for a while a few years ago. It wasn't my favourite job.

I found the atmosphere really depressing, the endless locking and unlockingof doors, the fights, the suspicion, the macho culture (amongst prison guards and inmates).

The only reason I could see that anyone came was to get out of their cell for a while (quite a valid reason really).

This was about 13 years ago, so things may well have changed

ReallyTired Sun 17-Feb-13 10:08:27

I feel you need to get a teaching qualification first and maybe work in a wider range of settings first. Maybe you would enjoy working in a special school or a pupil referal unit.

I have friend who has a job teaching in a prison. She is a highly experienced secondary school teacher and tells me that she had fewer discipline problems than she had a leafy middle class secondary.

Lousy management exists everywhere.

complexnumber Sun 17-Feb-13 10:21:14

I agree with RT with regards the discipline. The inmates knew that if they put one foot out of line, they would be 'banged up' without any hesitation at all. The discipline was maintained with a rod of iron (and that's only just a metaphor)

frustratedworkingmum Sun 17-Feb-13 10:32:09

Taking on board everything that everyone has said here - thanks guys. I am a biologist so i am thinking that actually without any formal teacher training i would be making a mistake. I am going to be starting that soon so maybe once I have done that i will rethink. I can get by with my subject knowledge at college but it is a whole new set of issues in prison isnt it. Like you say, basic literacy and numeracy would be an issue for many.

livvy0211 Tue 18-Feb-14 13:32:55

I am a mum of one i'm 22, and just gone into been a self employed hairdresser after working in a salon for 6 years. Fair to say its not all in anticipated i have always fancied doing my assesors award but my ultimate aim is to teach hairdressing/barbering in prisons. What are the steps i need to take to achieve it ?? anyone know x x x

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