The Freedom Writers Diary

The Freedom Writers Diary by Erin Gruwell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

All teachers must read this!  There just aren’t enough books like this reminding teachers that no matter how hard they work and no matter how much they sacrifice, there will always be someone, somewhere working harder and giving up more.

The book is a series of journal entries tracing the experiences of students during the 4 years in which Erin Gruwell transformed their lives.  The students are troubled and not all of them make it to the end of the story. However, because of the influence of Gruwell, many lives were rescued.

The book is based on fact, the students were real and their stories genuine.  We quickly recognise how remarkable Erin Gruwell was, and also  just how incredible her students were. How many young people can grow up in some of the most violent and deprived conditions in the USA and yet never use bad language?  Talk about inspirational!

This book has a powerful message and it makes you acutely aware of the power a teacher has to unleash or squash student potential.  It reinforces the idea that forming positive relationships with students lies at the heart of effective teaching and shows what can happen when teaching is authentic and relevant to the lives of students.  Not all teachers can be as charismatic as Erin Gruwell, but all can apply the same principles.   If they apply them successfully,  they could even write a book about it and remind other, less successful, teachers what is possible if they just showed a little more commitment to the job.


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