In my early 20s I wrote a series of articles about how the Utah State Prison was using education and vocational training to reduce the recidivism rate in the men’s prison. This involved a number of trips to the prison, eating lunch with inmates and sitting in on some of their classes.
On one of my last visits, the program director asked me if I would be interested in teaching a writing course for the inmates. I was young and naïve and certain I could change the world one person at a time. The thought that I could do this through the power of writing made the opportunity even more appealing.
I was about to jump at the chance and had just started to ask how soon I could start when the director piped up again: “Sometimes we need to dangle a carrot in front of these guys to get them to come to class and a young, pretty girl like you would be quite a carrot for us.”
Needless to say, my career as a writing instructor was born and died within the span of six minutes.