Each of us has a story. Each of us is unique.
Heart Prints encourages teachers to open their hearts and eyes to each of the students in their classrooms. It reveals the realities of the classroom when a teacher realizes that each person has a story to tell and each person has a voice to be heard. This work is a story of connections, success, heartbreak and love. It is an impassioned call to learn to teach, love and speak with your heart to change your life. This book is filled with honesty, despair, victories and tears. Through my voice as a teacher and my students’ voices, we reflect on our time together and the way our connections are illuminated through Heart Prints; a story filled with hope.
My story was difficult to write because it was not just my story. My family, my students, and my fellow teachers became an integral part of my daily life. Our lives were so intertwined, it was impossible to separate them. Heart Prints is that story—our story. After I became a Freedom Writer teacher in July of 2007, my life as a teacher changed more than words can describe. Erin Gruwell showed me how to teach with my heart so that the rest will follow. I learned how to 'put myself out there' so that my students would learn to trust me. I learned that sometimes the hardest stories—the ones that tear us up and spit us out—were the ones that made us stronger.