Teaching Hope: Stories from the Freedom Writer Teachers and Erin Gruwell

teaching hopeI began reading Teaching Hope when I was feeling bogged down by the education system (which is frequently) and needed an upper. I had read it before, but I couldn’t remember much. It wound up depressing me even more because such terrible things happen to students and teachers within these pages. Most of the stories are supposed to resonate hope and resiliency, but I was just more and more bummed about all the terrible things that children and teachers face every day. It’s a good book, really it is, it’s just not great in the hands of someone so…cynical…as myself. I still know my place is in the classroom, even being aware that parents, teachers, administrators, students, poverty, violence, and society may be against me. But it’s where I belong.

Here are some important points I wish to remember:

  • Here are 150 teachers who would do anything for their students.
  • They have seen the worst and have been able to move on.
  • The students are always worth it.
  • Even if you can’t change every student’s life (who can?), changing one life for the better is worth it.
  • Always get permission before teaching a controversial book (such as The Freedom Writers Diary).

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