(Sigh). So not to gulp the haterade, but I got a funny feeling when I saw the movie, right? Reading the diaries did nothing to quell it. It just further compounded my dis-ease with the whole Dangerous Minds template of self-sacrificing teachers in the hood. Hillary Swank probably rendered Ms. G more sympathetically, or that’s just me not appreciating the tone of her entries-“my badness”. I would’ve also appreciated some further notes on pedagogy/methodology in choosing the entries for this collection. For an example of a teacher who manages to accomplish this without relying too heavily on being a tryhard with much too simplistic an analysis on stereotypes, check Rafe Esquith.
but don’t take my word for it, check her own diary entries:
“Even though I spent last year as a student teacher at Wilson High School, I’m still learning my way around the city. Long Beach is so different than the gated community I grew up in. Thanks to MTV dubbing Long Beach as the “gangsta-rap capital” with its depiction of a city, or L B C as the rappers refer to it. They think I should wear a bulletproof vest rather than pearls. Where I live in Newport Beach is a utopia compared to some of the neighborhoods seen in a Snoop Doggy Dogg video. Still, TV tends to blow things out of proportion.” (1)
“So, to whip them into shape, I’m gonna have to get down and dirty. I’ll have to burst their “Beverly Hills 90210” stereotype of me by getting in the trenches with them. Since I’m tackling Shakespeare soon, I need to convince them that this guy in tights who talks funny “has it going on”. I need to show them Shakespeare’s got a little “something something” for everyone. So what I’m going to do is make the Montagues and Capulets into a modern-day posse. They were true “OGs”, as the kids say, the original gangsters, and although the language, colors, and turf had changed dramatically over the last four hundred years, the theme is universal.” (32)