Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Worded Wednesday

Doesn't always take much to amuse me, does it... This post is usually Wordless Wednesday but I decided to do words, ergo the post Title. I had quite a chuckle thinking about it...I guess I'll be the one who's happy when she ends up in The Home. (Feel free to wonder about my mental state, but just don't tell me you are.)

Well anyway, some of you may know that I tutor reading at one of our local detention centers. The modern, well run, low-risk inmates one. I had taken the literacy training years ago, and a two day slog THAT was. Ugh. It almost put me off tutoring. In the end, I was told I needed to make a year commitment to my student, with a weekly lesson. That seemed hard to do with the hours I was keeping at work, and fortunately for me, the assigned student never showed up. I figured that was A Sign.

Some time later, the AAUW contact at the detention centers said they needed people to teach Life Skills. Great I thought - I was alive, and was perfectly fluent in such things as checkbook, tax forms, calling utility companies etc so I thought it would be a perfect fit. (I have since learned that perfect fits in jobs etc often turn out to only seem perfect. There's usually at least 1 major flaw that makes you wonder WTF.) The fly in this Life Skills ointment turned out to be the hours. Weekdays from about 9-11 a.m. Hmmm...that didn't quite work with my paid employement and there was the mortgage etc. to consider. Again, no tutoring. The Signs were $$ signs this time.

Fast forward to last year. I am now retired and see that the Literacy training is being held again, it is only 1 day and I think I can get through that without screaming. I take it, it's fun, and they mention that there is a need for tutors at the Detention Centers. Most everyone in our group of ~30 blanches, but I have been up there for other volunteer work, and can see myself tutoring some foolish 20yr old check forger who 'only' did it to help her drug dealing boyfriend. So I go thru another orientation and get a badge. I am becoming very familiar with the volunteer coordinator and we are email pen pals. I finally go up for my first of the twice-weekly 9-11 sessions. There is light!

But where are the women!??!? All the students are men! I'm told most women in jail already know how to read. Oh...silly me. It's the men who started being the class clowns in grade school, ended up in Special Ed, and feel they will be on the short bus for the rest of their life. I am usually looking at repeat offenders, tho not necessarily 'hard' crime, and they range from very early 20s to nearly 70! But they are all volunteering for this tutoring, and receive no 'time off credit' for the 4 hrs a week they attend. About 85% of my students have been interested and interesting, and the occasional slug who is only warming a chair reminds me of how lucky I am to usually have students who are motivated. Except when it's slug time or I have a student who cannot give up the "oh I'm so dumb" habit, the two hours really go by fast. And then once in a while I get a real character who is FUN to teach and seems to have a chance at not finding himself back 'inside' when he's released. However, that's tomorrow's story. See you back here then, ok?

1 comment:

Just a Plane Ride Away said...

You are a good person to continue your tutoring. Where you a teacher before you retired?

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