Part of the challenge (and delight) of teaching in juvenile corrections is that you have to know a great many things. Most of the time, students have to complete schoolwork sent in from their various teachers. That way, the theory goes, they won’t fall behind.
In reality, without instruction, many of my students flounder when it comes to doing this assigned work. And it comes to me to help them, at least during the half-day when I’m “inside.”
The other day, of course, it was algebra. This is the beginning of the year (thank goodness), so the work isn’t that terribly hard. When I taught an open-entry, open-exit program at our local college, I actually taught college math, though not algebra. It was called college math though, and it kept me plenty focused trying to do it and then to teach it.
I do what I can. Most of the time, I can muddle through, along with all the other kids who pitch in to help. Worse comes to worst, we get one of our staff from the other area of the building, Kevin the Math Genius.
Seriously, it doesn’t hurt me, an art teacher, a writing teacher, to make a foray into other curriculum territory. It’s actually exhilarating, and when I really get stuck, I take the problems to my morning colleagues, the math teachers who are cheerfully willing to help me out so I can trot back “inside” and get into math once again.