Ladies and Gentleman, I have a very special episode for you today. My guest is Erin Gruwell. If you haven't seen the movie The Freedom Writers...STOP. Turn your computer off and go watch it immediately. Then come straight back and watch this interview. Erin is a brilliant mind who took kids from disadvantaged backgrounds and helped them integrate into the classroom and love learning again. It shows the struggles each of them goes through and we touch on this in the interview, but most of the kids she was teaching didn't think they would make it past 18...(scary!)
Erin is the founder and head of The Freedom Writers Foundation (see what they're up to here) and one of the most phenomoal teachers in today's world.
I love the movement and what the FWF movement stands for.
We chat about:
- How the movement originally started
- the influence Erin's dad had on her
- What Erin wanted to do when she originally grew up (which all changed when she saw one image)
- How we both lived fairly sheltered upbringings compared to many of the kids living in certain situations (heavy stuff if you've seen the movie or read the book)
- How Erin wanted THE naughtiest kids to see if she could change them
- Erin's definition of leadership
- The importance of continually finding your voice and education is now evolving
- What 'slam poetry' is?
- The danger of generalisations
- The stuff that didn't make it into the movie
- How the movie had 27 (yes....twenty seven) re-iterations before it was 'finalised'
- Expectations of Erin being who she is before she has entered the room.
- Much, much more.