A memory flashed into my mind.
A big, heavy set, intimidating looking prisoner towering over me as I sat at my desk, with HATE and F*CK tattooed across his knuckles, a hard look in his eyes.
And yet he had a vulnerable look on his face at the same time.
I was alone with him in my office, explaining his upcoming classes in Education in our minimum security correctional centre (prison/jail/gaol).
I wrote WTF on a post it note, as a reminder for him, and he suddenly became quite irate.
What are you saying Miss? he said belligerently.
And all the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end.
I calmly replied (hiding my growing concern) – you have classes on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays – is there a problem with that?
Oh, ah, no, he blustered – that’s fine, I thought you were saying something else.
And he visibly deflated, just like a balloon, and all tension left the room.
He walked away quite happy with the news of his classes, clutching his post it note in his big tattooed hands.
It wasn’t until minutes later that it clicked – we had very different meanings of the term WTF in our individual vocabularies!!!
And I laughed!
These days I don’t often think of my previous life as an educator in a correctional centre, a career that spanned over 20 years, but for some reason this story came to me this morning.
It just goes to show that Education comes in all forms, this is just one example of many stories I have from my time ‘inside’.
We both learnt something from this discussion!
It’s a story that always brings a smile to my face so I thought I’d share it with you.
I’m also reminded of The Day I met a Murderer on the Bus story – so many memories!
Have you any examples of similar mixed messages or confusing acronyms??
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