Friday, December 10, 2010

Comments From Behind the Fence - 3

One of the most important things an inmate can do during incarceration is to seek education. My own exposure to the education department at my prison opened my eyes to a culture that I hadn't really considered. It was while I was taking my first few classes that I encountered men pursuing their GED.

After completing my training, I took a job as a tutor where I would work for the next several years. It was the most rewarding experience of my incarceration. to work with men who were determined to end their cycle of failure and accomplish something that many have been told they were incapable of was awesome.

Anybody who experiences that feeling of having somebody walk up to them and than them for not letting them quit when it got tough and for giving them support and praise with an ear-to-ear grin and a look of pride in themselves knows. There is nothing that can adequately describe the rush. And every quarter there is a GED graduation at my institution. That meant seeing that look every three months!

What made it more enjoyable was sitting next to students I had tutored in a NDEP college class. I was thrilled during every single graduation. I attended and always hunted down "my" students to make sure that they signed up.

One day I was offered a job in the brand new prison music program. It happened at the same time a number of new teachers were taking positions in the education department. I decided that it was a good time to change jobs. I would now be teaching. Considering the fact that I'd never played an instrument before prison, this was something special.

A few years into my time, I decided to learn how to play guitar. A pair of guys both named Sam had a lot to do with teaching me. Now...I would be teaching others.

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