Confused how can Ern Gruwell have 150 students in one class?

I’m reading the Memoir of Erin Gruwell, the real-life teacher of the Freedom Writers a bunch of high schoolers.

I’m getting the impression that there’s only is one class she teachers (well she teaches one group first whom were juniors and then became seniors and she couldn’t teach them and then she teaches another group of students for three years with this group making up the “Freedom Writers”) But both group 1 and Group 2 had 150 students in class. And there’s not a single mention in the memoir of there being separate “remedial” classes. Only Group 1 Junior class she couldn’t follow to senior and then the Group 2 “Freedom Writers” from Freshman to Sophomore to (After some strings were pulled), Junior year.

But Mom and I don’t understand how that can be possible. They all seem to be in one class but we’re not sure how. And when the Group 2 went to Washington, D.C. because of the parents, and other chaperones- there were 188 people all together.

But there’s only 35 desks. for the students.

I just googled. Average lecture halls vary from 75 to 150 seats. These are average sizes, so bigger is possible. That’s also how you can have 150 students.

I didn’t realize I didn’t clarify I wasn’t talking about a college. I’m actually talking about a high school in the 1990s in L.A. California. Last I checked, not a lot of high schools have lecture halls. And even if they did in this racially diverse schools the “at-risk” and “unteachable” kids that Erin is forced to teach would not be allowed in a lecture hall if the school in question had one. Only “honour students” would be allowed in.

And also I don’t think college students would need to have permission from parents to go on field trips. OR need the parents’ help in chaperoning.

It’s possible the classes met in the auditorium. When I went to high school in the late 1980s we would watch a classic movie sometimes in English class and then take a test on it. Because there were three classes doing it at the same time we met in the auditorium. Maybe that’s the same thing here.

Nope Erin was apparently in a normal high school classroom (non-lecture hall), with only 35 desks. And lot of them graftti on it.

this is a shot of the Freedom Writers’ movie trailer but it’s based on the 1992-1999s version of Classroom 203 of the Wilson High school

Never confuse movies with the truth.
Not saying it happened, but having 30 kids in your movie, or 30 kids and 120 extras is a significant financial difference.

I looked a bit, nowhere does it say she has 1 class or more then 1 class. But she is teaching one subject, so I would assume she has more than 1 class since she went to full time teaching.


and the movie is based on the book. And both Erin’s memoir and the students’ book both say 150 students were “Saved” by her in a sense. But they all seem to be in one class according to Erin’s book (I don’t know about the students’ diary). I mean Erin’s first class (group 1 150 students as well) she got them interested in learning all because of a carticuare (sp?) drawing of “the new kid” (Group 1 was all juniors, unlike Group 2 started as freshman and then went onto sophomore, and Junior years with Erin still teaching them) at school who was put into Erin’s (whom was at the time a student teacher) at the school whom had been a member of the “other” school. And Group 2 the whole class did “the line game”

And with both groups in the memoir there’s plenty of what I’m going to call “shared scenes” where Person A says something about losing someone or something, and Person B and C identify with that.

Like one of the kids in group 2 whom moved to Erin’s class in sophomore year, Erin realized she (the student) was dyslexic and “wasn’t stupid, or lazy” as her previous teacher had said about her. And two other kids in the same class also identify as being and they’re going to proof-read each other’s work.

Even the Group 2’s Diary (the said Freedom Writer’s diary) said " The Freedom Writers Diary: How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them

But as I said, the classroom in the movie is based on what Room 203 at the said high school looked like in the 1993-1999 years. Since the actually classroom got a make over after reciving a grant.

And Group 2 (150 students)+ Erin +an unidentified amount of parents & chaperones (188 people) filled out an entire plane from LAX airport in CA, to Washington, D.C. where the Freedom Writers finally gave the said diary to the then-Education Minster

Most teachers teach 5 or so classes a day. 5 classes with 30 students in them equals 150 students.

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But the memoir never says anything about more then one class. Especially not when the kids are having a “shared moment” together. Or apologizing for something a sibling’s friends did (in a sense). It all seem to be in one class. even the diaries that make up the Freedom Writers’ diary also say 150 students.

At the most the Erin Gruwell’s memoir only talk about 2 classes the class of at-risk and “unteachable” juniors she got stuck teaching (as a Student Teacher whos supervising teacher left her to do the teaching) whom in her first year of being a real teacher- helped reined in the class of “at risk” and “unteachable” freshmen (whom in their Junior year turned into the Freedom Writers). There’s not a single mention of them being in a separate classes according to Erin’s memoir it’s not possible for them to be in separate classes because all 150 students in “Freedom Writers group” did the line game and how can that be, if she has separate classes because she’s only apparently did it one period, and not have to repeat it in X amount of other periods that an American high school has.

Even though there’s only 35 desks in classroom 203 at the time in 1993-1999. I guess, I could see about wrting a letter or something asking about if she taught seperate classes. Its might be a minor thing but it’s really confusing about the fact that it seems to be implied there’s 150 students in one class.

Erin with her students (I’m not sure which one is Erin Gruwell-but try to find one whom looks like Hillary Swank whom portrays her in the Freedom Writers’ movie)

When I was at school, I had a chemistry teacher who would teach chemistry. If anyone asked him what he did, he would say that he taught chemistry. He probably taught hundreds of pupils chemistry over the course of the week, but his class size was never more than 20.

What I think you’re doing is assuming that the meanings you’ve assigned to a phrase are the correct ones, and are now struggling to make the meanings fit the few facts you might think you know.

Firstly, as has been pointed out by others, it is possible to teach large numbers of people in one go if you are in a big room. Forget what the film showed; the film makers almost certainly took liberties.

Secondly, it is possible that the Freedom Writers (as has also been pointed out) could have been taught across several classes. That I suspect is more likely.

Collectively, they are known as Freedom Writers, because it’s easier to say that than "The Freedom Writers from Class 1, the Freedom Writers from Class 5, the Freedom Writers from Class 7 (except Jimmy because he had to move schools), the… " and so on.

Choose which is the most likely, and move on. Her work is impressive (and I thank you for bringing it up because I had never heard of her before) and feel free to regale us with anything else she has done.

But try not to get hung up on the details of ambiguous wording. By focusing on that, you are missing out on learning the more important details of her life.


Yeah both her original class of Juniors (which she had as a Student Teacher but couldn’t follow them to Senior Year) and the class(es) she had as a real teacher which makes up the actually Freedom Writers’ got to have her with some "string pullin’ " for four years from their Freshmen year (with help from the OG students) to their senior year. Both classes got to make up for “lost time” in show and town and OG students got to go to a field trip to LA’s Holocaust museum. Group 2 the “Freedom Writers” (named in honour of the 60s Freedom Riders after they watched a documentary in their junior year)- they collected money for both Miep Geep (whom real-life person died in 2010), the woman whom hid the Frank family of Anne Frank, and Zlata, a girl whom wrote a sort of “modern day Anne Frank Diary” about the war in Bosnia (And Zlata’s family and a friend) to come and meet them. They even got to go to Washton, D.C via a plane and it was many of their first time on a plane and there were 188 people in total if you include Erin, and the parents & chaperones.

She worked at two other jobs and apparently she had allies at the hotel she worked at (The Marriot company) the chef whom I guess moved on to NYC Marriot hotel sometime after 1996-1997), because he was able to get the hotel (in LA) for what turned out to be a very fancy dinner party for Zlata and her family and Erin’s family (minus her soon to be ex-husband), and the students’ family. And the Chef and her employee discount came to her help again when she was going to bring the students to NYC for an award presentation (Spirt of Anne Frank award) about what’s became the Freedom Writers Diary by arranging for them to stay at Times Squares’ Marriot Hotel.

Her colleagues at the high school weren’t happy with all the attention Classroom 203 was getting. By the end of Erin’s career at the school (From 1993-1998) the colleagues were saying she was “sleeping with” the superintendent.

You remember the NAL story of the “Mathball” teacher? One whom thinks OP whom tries to get him to help her and she “skipped school” when she was actually sick?

Well a lot of these at risk students when they tried to get permissions from the other teachers to go on the NYC field trip. They tried to “punish” the kids instead. So when the kids return the kids were told “they had an unexcused absence” and there “had been a mandated test” (not!), and there “Was no make -up test”. So the kids went to Mrs. G as they call her and ask for help and she turned to the superintendent for help (which lead to the other teachers saying the above comment) because of the other teachers’ punishing them, it hurt their grades.

I’m currently reading about their trip to Europe, (50 former students) they’re currently visiting the concretion camp in Poland in summer of '99.

Her husband (and eventually ex-husband)‘s boss was helpful from the start basically being the Freedom Writers’ benefactor.

I do know that “Professor Umbridge” actor plays one of Erin’s nasty colleagues in Freedom Writers’ movie. And Robert Phillis actor (from Enchanted, aka Patrick Dempsey from Grey’s Antomy plays the husband/ex-husband) of Erin’s in the same movie

PS, sorry I rambled a lot about this!

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@Stephen remember the NAL story of the students saying they want to I think beat up someone’s husband because they thought he was abusive or something?

While one of the two classes (I can’t remember if it’s was the Junior year of students she had ie the “original” ones or the actual Freedom Writers the ones she followed through from Freshmen to Senior year) kind of wanted to do similar kind of revenged against “Mrs G” (as they call her even though it’s Ms G techinally) husband when they saw he was with another woman.

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