In my second year of teaching high school English, I was offered a unique semester class: 25 boys from a local juvenile detention center would be bussed in for a few classes day, including grade 10 English. Since that class would move me from part-time to a full contract, I agreed.
It was explained to me that a sheriff would remain in class at all times, and he would take care of discipline. I knew instinctively that that was a terrible idea: I would have to control the class or I would have no role there. But without the usual external motivations of good grades and happy parents, how could I exert enough authority to teach? [Read more...]