Freedom Writers

Essay by dtevans11College, UndergraduateA, September 2014

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A Teachers Impact

In the life of someone who is troubled, it only takes one individual to change their lives for the better. This is something that occurs every day throughout the world, but the people are not recognized for their courageous actions. In the story "Freedom Writers," a high school English teacher was able to make a significant difference in the lives of many students. Through activities and lessons, the students were able to open themselves up and show who they really are, and faced scrutiny by their administrators while doing so.

First, Erin Gruwell, a first year high school English teacher at Woodrow Wilson High School, faces reality promptly when she is required to teach the lowest-performing students in the school. Almost all of the students are involved in gangs and show hatred to one another through racial slurs, physical violence, and crime. It takes Erin some time to realize that her everyday lesson plans have no effect on the students and that she is simply wasting her time.

She begins to develop new lesson plans that will help unify her and the students. One of her first ground-breaking exercises involves the students walking to a line if they agree to the statements Erin asks them. The questions relate to their gang life and how they all have lost someone they love because of it. This exercise shows the students that they are similar in many ways, and that their race should not affect the way they live their lives. Another lesson plan that Erin Gruwell incorporates into the class is having the students read books about the historic hardships of others, such as Anne Frank. These stories open the eyes of the students into the historic past that discrimination and racism have created and what can...