Monday, May 30, 2011

Freedom Writers

Have you seen this movie?  I hope you have.  I was perusing youtube clips and came across this trailer.  I have seen it years ago and seeing the trailer made me want to rent the movie out again.  Anyway, this little clip lead me to google Erin Gruwell, the teacher who is responsible for the Freedom Writers. The googling lead me to this The Freedome Writers Foundation.  The site briefly introduces how it came to be, including the history of Erin Gruwell's teaching career.  According to the website, she is now a lecturer at a teacher's college in California. 

Just reading her story about her first few years of teaching, how she used unconventional methods at the time to get these students' attention and turn their attitudes around and make them actually want to learn was truly inspiring.  It really made me look at my teaching.  I love teaching.  I love the fact that I'm in a position where I can influence someone's life in a positive way.  But to have that kind of passion.  To have that kind of determination for the students....I know that that's not an easy thing to come by.

It was also interesting to read that the methods that she devised for these students are proven methods that have become very popular in the 21-Century education.  She obviously was ahead of her time.  But this also made me think about how having the right motivation will lead you in the right direction.  I think all the talk about student-lead learning and making the curriculum relevant only seems prevalent now because people are talking about it overtly and having seminars on it.  But, I bet that there were teachers using this method long before all of this research etcetra came about.  Because I know that there have been passionate teachers since the beginning of teaching. 

I know I can't always be the perfect teacher who has the perfect lesson plans.  Life is constantly vying for my attention.  But, Erin Gruwell was a good reminder that if my heart is in the right place and I make sure that it stays there, the rest will follow.

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