Volunteering in San Quentin Prison for 2 years, English teacher Ms. You spent her afternoons teaching English Literature to inmates while spending her mornings teaching at UC Berkeley.
The idea of teaching in a prison came to her while she was teaching at an IB high school in New York, but the workload was unfortunately too much. However, she got the opportunity to teach at San Quentin Prison when she moved to the Bay Area. She taught English 45B TA, American Studies, and Freshman Composition in UC Berkeley and English.
Although there are negative stereotypes about prisoners, Ms. You has broken these hackneyed ideas. She feels as though prisoners understood what she was trying to teach more than her students from UC Berkeley. She comments, “They are the best students that I have ever had.”
Surprisingly, she states that the prisoners were easier to deal with than the guards. The guards were sexist and often unreasonable as they sometimes would not let her in simply because they felt like it, causing her to bake brownies at times to persuade the guards of her entry. They would also ask her, “Why are you doing this? They’re animals.”
From her experiences teaching at San Quentin Prison. Ms. You was inspired to come to Galileo Academy because she wanted to teach at an urban public high school students, as they are not offered as many resources as private school students.