It seems that from our class discussion on Ms. Gruwell’s opus that our views may be divided as to the author’s true intentions. I agree that she accomplished what many could not and that her method worked, but it’s hard to determine whether or not we can relate because the book lacks something. There is no driving force in the narrative and there are no figures in the story with which we can connect (a major problem, it being a memoir), even the students end up being portrayed like stereotypical cardboard imitations. The writing doesn’t manage to construct a heart to fill the void left by the promise of the title. I find myself asking how are we expected to learn anything from a book titled Teach With Your Heart if it lacks that very thing… heart?
In answer to that, I don’t rightly know. So far in the reading, I feel that Gruwell is so detached from everything that I have begun to question her intentions, much like Ray with his view of manipulation. For example, making headlines in the papers, taking the class to meet with Steven Spielberg, getting the support of Joey Bishop, etc. Given her family background, her schooling, her non-existent love life and not much else (the lack of insight into her actual character, to me, makes the book collapse in on itself ) many lines can be drawn. And that’s where it comes back to Sofia’s discussion of boundaries. What boundaries will we draw on ourselves as teachers? What boundaries will we draw on our colleagues and the system? Should we follow Erin Gruwell’s example? Maybe. It’s all open to interpretation really. Ultimately, we will decide for ourselves what our boundaries are and maybe make some decisions based on information presented to us by someone like Gruwell who, like it or not, managed to make some waves.