looking for some information

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by ciounoi, Aug 25, 2011.

  1. ciounoi

    ciounoi New Member

    Hello everyone,

    I am a new Special Education teacher with an interest in emotional and behavioral issues, so I sometimes browse this board! I was recently hired to teach science at a juvenile detention facility. I will be working with kids with mental health issues, suicidal ideation, drug/alcohol abuse, and past criminal records (including sex offenses). I'm working with grades 7-12.

    From the posts I have read, I gather that many of you have some experience with this kind of environment. Is there any information you could give me?

  2. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Be prepared to differentiate. You will likely have a child who should be in honors classes, one who is Learning Disability (LD) and one with cognitive impairment all in the same room. Present your material verbally and visually, have worksheets/handouts at multiple reading levels and 1 for non-readers. Hands on stuff is good but check with the guards before handing anything out (actually check a few days in advance because you don't want to be stuck without a plan if the guards say no).

    Keep accurate records, not just of grades, but of what level each child is working at academically. Please send a report to the next teacher when a child is released or transferred.

    For the most part, college is not in these boys future. Try and tie your lessons to the real world.
  3. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Expect more issues than they tell you about. Many of these kids will have undiagnosed issues - learning disabilities, various physical, mental and emotional issues, etc. And some of the labels they come with, may be inaccurate.

    Keep an open mind. Reaching the "real person" is more important than covering a set agenda in the subject. If you can give them skills that enable them to learn... they will learn from you, but you have also prepared them to learn from others in the future.
  4. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    How many kids will you have in your class? Will you have aides sharing the room with you? I think you are in for quite a challenge and admire your dedication. I would assume that before school starts it would be ideal to read the history of each teen to see what academic level they are on. I hope that information is available to you in advance. The layout of the room or student placement, I would think, would be of extreme importance. For safety and learning purposes I would expect that having their work areas widely spaced from one another would be paramount. That age group is volatile even with-o behavorial issues to start.

    Keeping a controlled environment that is as comfortable as possible would be a priority in my humble opinion. Becoming familiar with each student's personality, strengths and weaknesses and academic level would be the best time investment before focusing on classroom content. Almost all students have potential in some area and you won't know which way to set goals until you know who they are. By observation and conversation I assume it won't take long to "see" the best path to pursue. In most Department of Juvenile Justice facilities that I am familiar with computer programs are used for instruction. How much leeway you will have will lead you to answers.

    I admire your professional goal. I don't know how much experience you have with teenage boys but they are a unique breed. Because of their heightened sexuality I suggest that you "dress down" as much as you can so that your attractiveness doesn't become an issue. Maintain a pleasant but authoritarian demeanor to avoid "being played". Be prepared to be tested by many of them. Mentally rehearse your consistent responses to most any imaginable comments or actions. As the Boy Scout's say "Be Prepared". You've accepted a unique position and I wish you well. DDD
  5. ciounoi

    ciounoi New Member

    Thanks for the info! I will have about 40 kids from grades 7-12 over 6 periods in a day. Like JJJ said, I could have all levels/grades in my room in one period. I'm still not sure how the education is going to work... I can't get into the room just yet and I am being hired after the school year begins. I have been told that with all the levels in one period, the lessons are geared toward's the student's individual level. Think one-room schoolhouse. Lots of independent/textbook work, which I'm ok with, I just worry that the kids will act up because of it.

    I don't have too much information right now, and it's really bothering me because I know that structure and environment from the first day is SO important. However, I'm also in a secure facility, so I've been told that I'm really going to be only dealing with low-level behaviors like refusing to work since everything else falls under the facility's plan.
  6. Allan-Matlem

    Allan-Matlem Active Member

    check out http://livesinthebalance.org for engaging challenged kids
    kids are more interested in how much you care and not how much you know , but we need to get behind the veneer and walls that they put up

    good luck