Frequently Asked Questions
What is the time commitment for teaching?
This varies depending on the class and the correctional facility. Most of our volunteers teach a weekly class that lasts between 4-12 weeks. Shorter one-time workshops are an option, too, especially for more distant locations. Class preparation and written feedback vary widely from teacher to teacher.
How long are classes?
Typically 2-3 hours, one day per week.
How large are classes?
Typically between 10-15 students.
Will I receive training?
MPWW meets prior to classes starting and we do our best to help volunteers feel prepared. Our volunteers are passionate about this work and always eager to talk about their experience. In addition, the MN Department of Corrections requires all volunteers to attend an orientation and complete a background check. They're always helpful in answering questions or addressing concerns.
Where will I teach?
We teach at various correctional facilities throughout the state. The location depends on each prison’s schedule, your tolerance for a commute, your proposed course, and the DOC's needs and available space. We’ll work together with you and the DOC to match teachers with facilities.
Am I safe?
The Minnesota DOC takes our safety very seriously. Depending on the facility there are always security guards inside or near classrooms. Some teachers choose to wear body alarms, others do not. We follow "house rules" in every facility. Though obvious precautions are always necessary, we've found our prison students are consistently considerate, eager to learn, and grateful for classes.
Do you provide curriculum?
We’re happy to offer suggestions, but we don’t follow a uniform curriculum. Our teachers create their own courses and learn a lot in the process.
Where do I get course materials?
In most cases, the DOC will provide a few books and photocopies. We’ll help you work out specifics with your facility’s Education Director.