I just finished watching Freedom Writers, a film about teaching that moved me greatly. Several things stood out for me. First, the teacher, early in the year, showed strength to the students. She stood up to them, let them know she was serious about being their teacher. Her smile disappeared (at least for a time), and the kids started seeing her as a passionate and dogged (though also loving) teacher. Second, she allowed them to write from the heart. Any sensible person knows that when writers write about what they know and feel deeply, the writing has a good chance of being powerful. Third, the teacher changed the lives of her students. Because she believed in them and loved them and stood by them, their lives were literally transformed. This is exactly what I find so thrilling about being a teacher – the possibility, every day, of helping young people blossom again and again. It’s a thrill, and a great, great honor.
-- July 19, 2007