Thursday, October 12, 2006

Freedom Writers Day 1

Well, I started out today in Sarasota, Florida, flew to Charlotte, NC, got on another plane (delayed 40 minutes) and now I’m in Long Beach, CA.
Fay of the Freedom Writers Foundation picked me up from LAX with Heather from OK City in tow. I was supposed to arrive first, but the delay put a kink in those plans. The trip from the airport to the hotel was great. Both Fay and Heather have such a great energy, not that I wouldn’t expect that to be the case. I have a sneeking suspicion that this is going to be weekended of kindred spirits.
I’m sharing my hotel room with another teacher. He wasn’t here when I showed up, but just popped in for a bit. His name’s Darwin and he and his colleagues are from Toronto. I’ll need Google Maps to decide which of us has traveled the farthest to get here.
We’re due down in the lobby in 20 minutes, so I should get myself prepared. I gave my schedule printout to Principal Steve before I left, so I have only a cusory familiarity with what we’ve got going tonight. I do know that activities are packed in to these four days. I can’t wait to get started.

More later.

It's later. What a fantastic group. When all of the delays and flight re-routes are taken care of, we will be 16 teachers strong. Tonight was a brief bit of housekeeping and laying out of the itinerary. I've got to say, I love these people. One of the things I imagined tonight during dinner was what it would look like if all of us worked together in the same school. Unfair to our home schools, but amazing for our students.

We met two of the freedom writers tonight. Well, two of them were here. Sonia and I go way back (lol). Honestly, I can't imagine a better group of people. One of the things I noticed while people were introducing things was the high percentage of people who said they were in the profession for fewer than 10 years but felt as though tteachinge teching for 25 or longer.

That, to me, is one of the most important pieces of being here. After just one quarter of the year, I know I need to sharpen the saw (thank you Stephen Covey). Tomorrow, the real work begins. I cannot wait. I want to package all of these people and bring them back.

I also want to sneak all of my Phoenix counterparts in to the workshop.

Before signing off, I tell you to watch the video below. The Freedom Writers trailer went live on YouTube. It's pretty hard core. I tell you this that Erin is not nearly as rough in real life.

Darwin sends a special shout out and would like to let everyone know he's a self-described "Chinese George Clooney." I'll have to get some pics for Flickr.

More later.

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