Erin Gruwell — American Writer born on August 15, 1969,

Erin Gruwell is an American teacher known for her unique teaching method, which led to the publication of The Freedom Writers Diary: How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them. The 2007 film Freedom Writers is based on her story... (wikipedia)

Hoping they'd been inspired by the examples of Anne Frank and other teens who had turned negative experiences into something positive by writing about them, I handed out notebooks for my students to journal about their lives. There was some initial resistance. But then the stories poured out of them, full of anger and sadness.
I realized if you can change a classroom, you can change a community, and if you change enough communities you can change the world.
I grew up in a very progressive family and with a great educational system, and I asked myself, 'Why doesn't everybody have these opportunities for a good education? So why not give back to these kids who didn't grow up with the same privileges I had?'
I was going to show my kids that no matter what happened with their parents, parole officers and other teachers, I wouldn't give up on them. I let them know it matters to me that you come to class, it matters to me that you try, it matters to me when you succeed.
I have learned that, although I am a good teacher, I am a much better student, and I was blessed to learn valuable lessons from my students on a daily basis. They taught me the importance of teaching to a student - and not to a test.

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