Considering Teaching Troubled Youth/Adolescents

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Teacher234, Dec 1, 2018.

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Should this be considered?

Poll closed Dec 12, 2018.
  1. Yes

    25.0%
  2. No

    50.0%
  3. Tomato

    25.0%
  1. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Cohort

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    Dec 1, 2018

    Hello.
    I am currently teaching elementary special education (self-contained setting). Have recently taught Regents LE in an inclusion summer school class. Throughout my teaching career, have taught high school English, middle school, and gen ed elementary.
    I am wondering if it would be realistic for me to teach troubled youth in possibly a prison/detention center setting. How would this work? Is it like the format of a behavioral-centered classroom or regular classroom? Is it similar to what I teach currently? Is it even something to consider?
     
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  3. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Cohort

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    Dec 2, 2018

    I am just wondering about this possible teaching position. would like some information, if at all possible. In addition, opinions about this consideration would be highly appreciated.
     
  4. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Dec 4, 2018

    Here are the differences from a regular school setting:
    - you will have all grade levels in one class. They're not separated by what subjects they need or grade level, they're separated into pods, and each pod with have 1 classroom. Sometimes they're in dorms, same thing. The grouping of kids most of the time focus on gang affiliation, crime committed (short term / long term stay, etc).
    - It's year round, and you will have a high turn over.In juvenile hall, you can have a lot of kids there for a week, or even less, up to a year, in other settings it might be longer term, but still more turnover than regular school. Short 1-2 day lessons are best.
     
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  5. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Dec 4, 2018

    I know a few people who have taught in non-traditional settings. One taught in a prison for adults, one taught in a juvenile detention center, and a few taught in day-treatment programs or "camps" for troubled youth.

    They all really liked their jobs. There was a lot of turnover, but they found the adults and older teens were more willing participants in their education because a lot of them were there by choice, not by mandate. The younger teens sometimes were still resistant to education. The plus side was that they did not have to put up with misbehavior because they were removed if they acted a fool.
     
  6. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Dec 4, 2018

    Linguist92021 has walked the walk, by the way: you might want to have a look at her posts from a couple of years ago.
     
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  7. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Yes, I subbed and long term subbed in juvenile halls and long term detention camps (in the summer I still sub there as a teacher). I used to come here to ask for advice but also to vent; lots of interesting and even funny stories.

    Here are the negatives, based on the different locations I've been in.
    1. you are at the whim of the officers. If they bring your class 20 minutes late to class, oh well, there's nothing you can do. This can happen for problems among the students (fights, having to search them, etc, but even small things such as too many officers are absent, small issues with shift changes, etc.) If there is a fight in the classroom, students are taken out, and class is canceled. For someone like me, who likes to have a tight schedule, teach bell to bell, and be on the same page with all my classes, this was very hard to get used to.
    2. you will have a huge variation of abilities, grade levels and skill levels and you have to try to reach all students, but you won't be able to. You just do the best.
    3. Lots of mind games, students are great at it. I actually enjoyed it, because it was intriguing but it took me a year to catch on. It is actually disturbing that these youngsters already have this prison-mentality, sort of grooming themselves for prison-life.

    It takes a certain type of person to work in this environment, just like it takes a certain type of person to work with special needs students, or elementary or high school, etc. It's not for everyone.
    You have to be able to separate the crime from the student. You will most likely not even know what crimes those students committed, because it's none of your business. You're there to educate them, nothing else. But some of these kids might have murdered someone, beat a homeless man to death, raped women, pimped young girls out, molested children, etc. These are the more serious crimes, but these students will be in the same classroom with those who "simply" stole a car or got a probation violation for hanging out with other gang members, etc. So you have to be able to treat each kid the same knowing that some of them might be very dangerous and / or have committed horrible acts. i was able to ignore it.
     
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  8. Teacher234

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    Dec 5, 2018

    Thank you everyone for taking the time to reply to my message. While I consider myself versatile as a teacher and experienced, teaching in a prison-like setting just seems like it would not be for me. I do thank you all for informing me of the issues with the setting. I am really enjoying my special class and would like to stay in the position for many more years.
     
  9. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Cohort

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    I am able to disregard disabilities and differences (to an extend). I hope I do not sound close-minded, however, based on what I have read.....teaching in a prison-like setting would not be comfortable for me.
     
  10. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Cohort

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    I guess, in a sense, that solves the behavioral aspect of teaching. I do feel that this is the only positive.
    I would not want my behavioral management skills to go to waste.
     
  11. hmsmark

    hmsmark Rookie

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    Dec 19, 2018

    This will vary greatly by area. I've looked into it, but never done it. In some states they go all year and in others they don't have school in the summer and during other traditional breaks.

    If you're under 37, you can work for the federal government's prison system, which would be teaching adults, but the reason you need to be under 37 is that you're also cross trained as a corrections officer and this is a law enforcement position (hence the age and also fitness requirements). Some states may do this too. This means doing corrections officer things like restraining inmates, tossing cells for contraband, and other jail yard stuff. The up side is an early law enforcement federal retirement and a salary that is good for a teacher in many parts of the country.

    There is much more bureaucracy getting hired by a state or county. The hiring process can take much longer than you're used to with a school district. Also, writing a resume for a state job is quite a bit different. There are books dedicated to this, but you need to get your resume passed the HR department which knows nothing about education, so you need to include wording from the posting and hyper-detailed descriptions of your skills that would make your resume far too long for a traditional teaching job.

    Depending on the area: pay and benefits can vary. It could be much better than the local school districts, or much worse. In California, most juvenile hall teachers work for the county and they're usually as good or better in terms of pay than local districts, but you can probably find counties where that isn't the case.

    In many cases, because you have multi-grade and multi-subject classes, you may use a computer based program such as Odysseyware or Apex, so you may look at the back of their heads for much of the day as you try to help students work through very different curriculum. This may not be the kind of teaching you want to do, but on the plus side, most jail settings don't stress about state testing or implementing the latest educational trend.
     
  12. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Cohort

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    Dec 20, 2018

    To reply to the above post, I am definitely not under 40. I will not get in to my age (because I am not young).
    To put it in perspective, I have been teaching for 20+ years.
    While I find standardized testing ridiculous, my school district has eliminated this aspect of the educational system. Well, there was some sort of agreement, but I am not getting into this. I want to teach my students an engaging lesson.
     
  13. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Cohort

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    Dec 20, 2018

    Do note that after some research and opinions from this forum......I have decided to not shift into this setting. Thank you for the further opinion @hmsmark , but I have actually determined not to get into teaching in a detention setting/teaching teenage criminals.
     

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