LT / Writing heals

12:00:00 AM

I used to be a volunteer English teacher for the organization Alay Ni Ignacio (ANI). My friend Abet recruited me in my freshman year, and I stayed with the group until I graduated from college. Because I'm crazy, half my lecture time was spent sharing life lessons, leaving me only about 20 minutes to actually discuss what's in my curriculum.

My teaching style is a lot like that of my favorite high school teacher, Mrs. Menchie Cruz. She's the type who makes her students write a lot of essays, because she knows that the only way to get better at writing is to write. I think that that method did not sit too well with my kids at the start of the term, but a lot of them did eventually get the hang of it.

(image from the internet)
Many years later, I stumbled upon the film Freedom Writers on HBO. It's based on a real story. It starred Academy Award-winning actress Hilary Swank as Erin Gruwell, a teacher who radically changed the lives of her students. It's amazing what she did for her students, and I remember wishing I had done the same for my kids.

Her students were dealing with a lot of issues, the most difficult of which were discrimination, and she made it her life's mission to teach them a thing or two about tolerance. She started by getting them to keep a journal. And years later, the students' works were compiled and published, and they were collectively known as The Freedom Writers.
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I immediately understood what she was trying to do. Writing is cathartic; it is a way for a person to release pent-up emotions like frustration and anger. And because of that, writing has an incredible capacity to heal. I had a difficult life, too, and writing has helped me heal.


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