Students Need a Freedom Writer Teacher

Two months ago, I received a letter from the Freedom Writers foundation informing me that I had been recommended for the Institute. I applied, and one month later, I was accepted!  I will be attending the Institute in August 2014.  This is a dream come true and, as an educator, an enormous honor!  I will be the first Freedom Writers Teacher currently teaching in my school district...WOW! 

I have been teaching for 20 years and the majority of my career has been in a low income school.  I wouldn't have it any other way.  Even though I am the one with the teaching certificate, I have become the student.   My students teach me so much on a daily basis, and that is without me tapping into a tenth of their experiences. They have taught me to look past dirty, smelly clothes, straggly hair and rotten teeth.  They have taught me that a Hershey's Hug and one Cookie Crisp Cereal wrapped in a coffee filter is the best Christmas present I could ever ask for.  They have taught me that leaking pipes and a shifted foundation is nothing compared to burning a tire in the middle of the living room to stay warm. 

Many of my students live a life with parents in and out of prison, moving every time rent is due, living in cars, run down motels, shacks or sleeping on the floor of their great-grandmother's house along with seven other family members.  They come to school smelling like weed because the uncle who brought them that morning was smoking it or they smoked it as they walked to school. They have to slide their homework that needs to be signed under their mother's bedroom door because she is busy with her boyfriend of the night or they go to the strip club and help their mother make Jello shots. To some, school is a place to get a meal and have temporary warmth and shelter.  To others, it is a place they HAVE to go when they would rather be sleeping off the drugs, running the streets or watching porn:and I teach fifth grade. The state assessment test is not important to them, but somehow I am to make it important. 

Becoming a Freedom Writers Teacher could mean so many things for my students, for my school and especially for me.   I work hard on building relationships with my students, but they have built up walls so tall that it seems nothing I do will ever bring them down. The Freedom Writers Institute will give me more tools to help reach my students who already think they are not good for anything. We have implemented "The Leader in Me" on our campus and the 8th Habit is Find Your Voice.  I need to find a way to dig deep past that 10% of their experiences so they can find their voice.  Giving them this freedom will build up their confidence; they will soar personally and academically. Nothing will hold them back from setting and achieving goals they never dreamed possible. As for me, I need help in making my voice louder, so I can be a stronger advocate for these kids. The Freedom Writers Institute can help me be that advocate for the kids I am so very passionate about.  Once trained as a Freedom Writers Teacher, I will be able to share my new found knowledge by being the example; by teaching others how to dig deep with compassion, not intolerance.

The teacher hat is one I wear with pride.  It means that I have the chance to make a difference in the life of at least one student every year.  It means that I can show love to those who only know hate, show respect to those who have been shunned and disrespected, and give meaning to the life of a child who thought they were invisible. 

I have half the cost of the institute covered, will you help me in raising the other half?  Your generous donation could help change the life of a child forever.
  • Anonymous 
    • $460 
    • 85 mos
  • Andie Smith 
    • $40 
    • 85 mos
  • karla penney 
    • $30 
    • 86 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $40 
    • 86 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $1,000 (Offline)
    • 86 mos
See all

Organizer

Heather Finley Holcomb 
Organizer
Abilene, TX
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