Interview – We talked to DOÑA MARÍA, our teacher [EN/ES]

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Almeria Prison is offered to inmates as an ordinary educational centre. Formal education is provided by the Junta de Andalucía to all those inmates who lack primary andsecondary education. The inmates of the UTE1 are fortunate to have among their teachers this year Doña Tola and Doña María, two very dedicated people who are completely devoted to their profession.

QUESTION – Tell us a little about yourself. Why did you choose to become a teacher?
ANSWER – I chose to become a teacher because I love being surrounded by people, sharing what I know and helping others as much as possible. In addition, I have been lucky enough to have had wonderful teachers and professors throughout my life who have left their trace in me and who have made me love and believe in what I do.

Q – When you were offered to teach in a prison, what came to your mind?
A – My relationship with prison started in a stormy way. I didn’t know I was choosing the prison, so when I found out, TV series and films came to mind. I felt fear, insecurity, nostalgia for my little boys and girls, but if I didn’t do it and withdrew before I tried, I knew I would regret it sooner rather than later.

Q – Describe how a classroom in prison is different from a school outside. What is your daily life like in El Acebuche?
A – First of all, I have never taught adults before. The difference with respect to other adult schools, I can’t tell you, as I don’t know them. On the other hand, my day-to-day life at El Acebuche is quite busy. I move through five different modules as I am an English specialist. I would also like to say that I really like the work I am doing, and I feel that it is of some use to some of the students.

Q – Tell us about some anecdotes from your professional experience.
A – The best anecdote was the first time I chose CEPer Retamar. When I passed the examinations to become a teacher, I chose the Penitentiary Centre, without knowing what I was choosing. Besides, I always thought that I would be working in a centre located in Retamar, so when I arrived it was a big surprise. My father thought that I would be teaching the children of the inmates of the centre…. Then I decided that it would be an interesting and different opportunity for me… and finally, here I am, in my second year. I remember when I entered the Centre and saw the number of doors, the bars…. Nowadays I feel safe inside.

Q – Do you believe in reintegration, why?
A – The truth is that I believe and trust in reintegration, but I also consider that in some cases, the environment in which they live outside the centre does not help some of them. I also believe that we cannot forget that re-socialisation involves the inmate’s new adaptation to life outside and that when they have spent many years inside, it can become
complicated, although not impossible.

Q – What things would you change to improve education in this Prison?
A – I think the work of prison professionals is excellent, and the work of the teachers is impressive. I would perhaps expand the range of training on offer, although it is not within our competence.

Q – What do you like and dislike about Almería and what is your favourite food?
A – What I like the most about Almería is the climate, the sea, the people, the atmosphere of the city… in general I am in love with Almería. I think we should promote and take care of our city much more. As for my favourite food, I can say that, as a good Almerian, it’s “miguicas”, with a little bit of chorizo, black pudding, anchovies…

1) UTE is a Special Treatment Unit, where inmates with drug addiction problems live.

—- In Spanish —-