Teacher takes ‘Funk’y career path from juvenile correction facility to classroom


Leah Niles

Social studies teacher Will Funk doesn’t have problems controlling his classes–he learned how to manage behavior while working at a juvenile correctional facility

Jaden Gabaton and Kayla Holt

When asking a teacher about how they chose their career path, they usually give the same boring story about how they struggled through college, but for history teacher Will Funk, this is far from the truth.

Funk worked at the Victor Cullen Academy, a juvenile correctional facility where he taught male juveniles “geometry and reading on provisional certification,” Funk said.

Funk’s job history is no secret. He is very open about the experience, especially with his students. “On the first day, [Funk] explained [his old job], and just told us about himself,” junior Rianna Norwood said.

“I got jumped by three students at one time,” Funk said. On a day when everyone except Funk called in sick, Funk was left to transition duty. He went from a mellow teacher to a stern supervisor. “I had to step up and enforce the rules and some kids didn’t like that,” Funk added.

The environment Funk worked in was very different from the Mill. He was given few supplies and he had to pay for many things himself. Many kids had given up, but Funk was determined to teach. “It gave me an opportunity to practice my teaching,” Funk added. “If I could handle it here, I could handle anything.” 

Many of his coworkers believed that working in that setting helped him become a better teacher. “I would imagine that [the old job] helped him be calmer in tense situations and [better at] understanding where people are coming from,” history resource teacher Matthew Kanach said.

Students also believe that working in a possibly dangerous setting was helpful in giving him the skills to run an effective and interesting classroom. “I think Mr. Funk working in a correctional facility made him a better teacher,” senior Devion Bridges said.

Many teachers work odd jobs before they find their calling in education. Funk wanted to do something he thought would prepare him, but also help many kids. “If someone wants to change their lives, I am here for them,” Funk said.

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