Teaching in prison is a learning experience for SCC professors
October 14, 2015
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Editor’s Note: Check out this article for more information on the prison courses.
Music professor Andrew Wesley is one of the first Solano Community College faculty to teach classes at the state prison in Vacaville. Next semester, more instructors will be joining him.
SCC is the first California community college to make an agreement with the state Department of Corrections to offer courses for inmates who are serving sentences. This requires that professors go to the prison and teach the courses face-to-face.
Wesley said he had a great experience teaching at the prison.
“I’ve never had an entire collective of students who wanted to learn–they taught me as much as I taught them,” Wesley said.
“I didn’t go in with any biases, I didn’t know what to expect so I didn’t really think about the personal issues that some instructors have about safety.”
“I was more afraid of giving a bad impression of Solano because I was the first face- to-face,” Wesley said.
The agreement between the college district and the California Department Of Corrections and Rehabilitation took place on Oct. 15, 2014 where it was agreed that college credit classes would be offered at the prison to inmates who qualified, according to the CDCR newsletter.
Jeffrey Young, a counselor and professor at SCC, will be teaching at the prison for the first time next semester.
“As an African American male, prison has made me uncomfortable because people were telling me my whole life ‘you’re gonna go to jail’,” Young said. “And to go in as an instructor and seeing the prison complex and the young men in there, I just want to make sure that I am emotionally able to handle it,” Young said.
“I feel like I will learn a lot, and become a better instructor. If you can teach prisoners you can teach anyone, and I think I will grow as a person. That’s one reason why I volunteered.”