“Teaching Literature At The County Jail

722 Words3 Pages
It’s a unique privilege to be able to view the world, in all its faults and glory, as others see it. An ignorant assumption would be to think that all people relate to experiences seen, felt, heard or even read in the same manner. Christina Boufis first details this in her story, “Teaching Literature at the County Jail,” as she notices that her “Berkeley students don’t pick up on the drug connection” the same as her female prison students (69). Christina Boufis’s “Teaching Literature at the County Jail,” gives readers the insight on how ones personal experiences affect their connection with the rest of the world. Christina Boufis, an educated English and literature professor, takes the reader through her experiences as she teaches both female inmates in conjuncture with college level students about literature. Being educated, Professor Boufis was, at the least, unprepared to work with female inmates at the San Francisco County Jail whom at “most are at a fourth- to seventh-grade reading level” 68. However during her educational career she spent many years reading about female literature and was captivated with the idea of being able to work strictly with females (Boufis 68). A bit apprehensive, being a white female in a predominantly black female setting, that and upon her first day of teaching being told she was “going to be eaten alive”, remains. Time goes on she begins to grow fond of her inmate students explaining that “I believed I could make a difference teaching at the jail,” certainly a goal of any professor (Boufis 70). Professor Boufis than begins to notice a certain, yet particularly important, difference between her two sets of students; in that her college students upon reading the same text as the inmates seem to want a define and clear point to what the work is primarily trying to relay to the reader. On the other hand her inmate students are

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