My favorite people in the whole wide world are teenagers. More specifically, incarcerated teenage girls. I taught them, once upon a time at the Madison Juvenile Correctional Facility. I was a technology teacher who taught about computers, typing, digital citizenship, and Microsoft Office products. I also taught Adult Roles and Reponsibilities class too, or Adulting 101, as I liked to call it.
You would think that working at a juvenile prison would be depressing, but NOT SO! I loved every minute of it and loved my job….so much so that I looked forward to going to work in the morning, even in the middle of active abuse. Here’s to teaching kids that lapped up the attention, because they were troubled youth. They appreciate the fact that we were firm, fair, and consistent. That was something that NEVER was shown to them in their own homes.
It was nothing less than awesome to watch lightbulbs come on, when you taught them something basic that we were taught by our parents — I always heard it called “home training”…also, watching them go from not caring to caring about their grades, as they kept achieving successes: it became almost an addiction to them!
I had 60 foster daughters. I listened, if they needed to talk (and conferred with the pysch staff), counseled them, disciplined them and held them accountable, rewarded and rejoiced with them — all things that parents do…I also lost a few, finding out even after the prison moved to the more northern part of my state…my heart was broken…drugs and abuse are EVIL. My soul drooped at the fact that they were never going to escape their fate. Thankfully, the majority of my former students that I communicate with over social media are doing well. I’m proud of the people that they have become! It makes me feel good! Taking children who could barely read and studying was impossible for, only to have them going to college willingly! Wowza!
Oh, and a fun fact: a film and production crew filmed on our campus and made it a series. It’s called “Girls Incarcerated.” I’m in Season 1. So, I am technically a reality TV star…technically…it’s on Netflix, if you are curious…