Civil Rights and Rock and Roll Journey, Day 2 (Part 1)

“Pick up your pen and be a catalyst for change.” These words end The Freedom Writer Diary. If I ever do anything close to what Erin Gruwell accomplished with her students, I will call myself successful. Am I doing what I should? Is education really a war? Teachers like Erin Gruwell were at the front and fighting bravely. Other teachers on the front don’t fight at all. And if education is a war, I am in some cushy office on the homefront.

I don’t want to leave Weber. I think I’m doing good things there. I am happy. But all kids need good teachers, and too many of my peers are not willing to be like Erin Gruwell. In fact, I’m not. I have a family I already feel I don’t put first often enough. I could not take on an extra job like Gruwell did.

Maybe my blog is helping me in some way to pick up my pen and pass on my message. I think maybe I do help others. Maybe more than I realize. I do know the power of having a voice and an audience for my voice. I wonder if any of the Freedom Writers blog? They should.

In spite of how much I loved and was inspired by The Freedom Writer’s Diary, I was bothered by two things. First, Erin Gruwell left the classroom. In my opinion, she personified the famous poem’s message in that she burned the candle at both ends. There is no way she could have kept going the way she was. She would have died or burned out. Perhaps establishing her foundation and teaching college was what she needed to do to preserve her sanity. I shouldn’t judge. But it bothers me she left. I suppose it is true she can spread her message more quickly through educating future teachers. Why, then, does it still bother me she left? The second thing that bothers me are the proofreading errors. There were a few. I realize these are journals, but it bothers me to see that proofreading errors made it into print. This is my guess because of the types of errors I noticed. For example, “then” for “than.” I want to focus on the book’s message and turn off that English teacher. I can’t.

Part 2 of Day 2 will appear tomorrow.

[tags]Erin Gruwell, Freedom Writers, Freedom Writers Diary[/tags]

4 thoughts on “Civil Rights and Rock and Roll Journey, Day 2 (Part 1)”

  1. Dana,

    First, I just wanted to say thank you for the support of the film and the book. Second, I wanted to apologize for the errors in the book. Too bad it's not a text book, because then we could reprint a second edition and make more money, haha. I'm still in college and dealing with all of the 15th edition type stuff where the only difference between the third edition and the 15th is a couple of spelling errors, and maybe a few new problems to make it worth the money. You are right though, it is the message that counts. A lot of times people blog for its healing properties. I just wanted to let you know why Ms. G left school. It was because of us; we asked her to; to come with us to college. We knew that she had masters, and maybe she could do it. Erin can do anything believe me. Because of Erin’s dedication to the freedom writers she made it happen. I understand what you mean when you say, she should stay in high school and continue to teach. When you look at the shear numbers; if she taught for 20 years with 150 students a year that is only 3000 students. Right now there is a program called the freedom teachers which is group composed of teachers who are inspired by our stories, want to make a difference and so devoted to their craft. They come to Long Beach for a four day intense freedom writer crash course. Each time, there are anywhere from 10-15 teachers. This happens at least once a year and some times more. So, if we do the minimum numbers, 15 teachers a year for 20 years, that is 300 teachers and now take the 3000 students they will each teach throughout their career’s and that is a whopping 900,000. WOW! That is nearly one million people affected. Remember, that is only the minimum numbers. So, I think that there will be more affected then stated here, but again we are being conservative. Dana I hope now you can understand a little better why Erin did what she did. Dana I am the first in my family to graduate high school, I am the first in my family to go to college. I am married. I attend San Diego State University and I'm in the nursing program. I hope now you feel like you know us personally. Please continue to blog and be the best teacher you can be. As a freedom writer it gives me great pleasure to read all of the blogs about us; especially the positive ones.

    Calvin Vanderhoff

    Ps. I just wanted to let you know that i don't work for the foundation. Sorry if my grammer or spelling stinks i don't have time to ck it all, I'm pretty busy with school and again thank you for being and inspiration to many.

  2. Dana, What a greatttt comment.. also a great blog entry today.

    I linked to you today (and Steve) It was because of yr blog that I was able to convince my hubby to take me to see it. He also wriote about Freedom Writers today, only he is Main Stream Media


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