Teach With Your Heart | Teen Ink

Teach With Your Heart

November 2, 2007
By Anonymous

Teach With Your Heart: Lessons I Learned From the Freedom Writers written by Erin Gruwell

Teach With Your Heart: Lessons I Learned From the Freedom Writers is the powerful memoir of Erin Gruwell. In this memoir, Gruwell writes a powerful description of life and teaching in Long Beach, California. Her gripping story makes you feel as if you had been there in the midst of shootings, fights, gangs, and segregation and makes you rethink your beliefs on these important topics. This book is the memoir of one young woman who risked everything, from her reputation to her marriage, to teach her students important life values and how to leave behind a message saying “I was here” through English- reading novels and writing journals.

Erin Gruwell writes in a simple style, but her descriptions of students, Long Beach, and Wilson High School make you cling to the book, ravenous to know what will happen to Erin and her students. Erin tells of her risks to help 150 young teens heading down the road to a life of despair turn the other way. Erin taught these students for four years, and she fought to do this. Erin wasn't allowed to teach any higher than sophomore English, but she fought hard and succeeded.

The themes of this story are gang violence and ethnicity. Erin turns this book into a lesson, a way to show what can happen if it continues, but also what can happen if you put in the exertion to try and stop it. The change of her students hits you smack dab in the nose. Erin taught her students to tell their stories through writing journals everyday. Their stories are heart-breaking; the students have experienced more tragedy than any teen should be allowed. At only sixteen years old, many students had lost several friends and family members to gang violence. Through telling these heart-breaking stories, the Freedom Writers learned to trust; they could see through writing their stories that their lives had to change. There are three people whose lives change most as a result: Two students, Sharaud and Maria, and Erin.

I think that everyone should read this book because it proves that the Holocaust is practically repeating itself; but this book shows how 150 teens broke free from the ride. This book was absolutely amazing, and it really reaches deep down in your heart and makes you wonder if this is happening right outside your front door. I would recommend this book to anybody, because I think it is one of the most inspirational books I have ever read.

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