This week’s featured writer: Natalia Buitrago
School: Washington Middle School
Teacher: Mrs. Sikora
What have you learned in school that makes you a better writer? I learn a lot from my teachers, like how to improve my vocabulary and grammar when writing.
What is your favorite book? My favorite book is The Hunger games by Suzanne Collins.
What do you like to do outside of school? I enjoy reading and playing the clarinet.
Natalia’s impression from Bad Boy by Walter Dean Myers:
Mr. Irwin Lasher: A Helpful Teacher
Walter Dean Myers had many teachers in his childhood. Mr. Irwin Lasher made the biggest impact on Walter's learning by putting Walter in speech therapy, raising his self-esteem, and recommending him for AP classes. Before all this happened, Walter was having a hard time at school because of his speech problem.
As a child, Walter couldn't speak well. Mr. Lasher helped by putting him in speech therapy for one class session every day. Before Mr. Lasher came along, Walter had speech therapy only one period a week. Mr. Lasher gave Walter a better opportunity to practice and improve his speech, leading to more confidence and self-esteem.
Every teacher Walter had before Mr. Lasher had called Walter "bad", but Mr. Lasher called Walter "bright", "smart", and "special". He also put Walter in charge of anything that needed a leader and made Walter coach slower readers in the class. This newfound confidence inspired by Mr. Lasher helped Walter to improve his grades.
Mr. Lasher recommended Walter for AP, or Advanced Placement, classes in middle school. Not only did Walter's grades improve significantly, but his behavior in class became more positive because he wasn't fighting other students who made fun of him for speaking poorly. Walter's teacher helped him realize that he could overcome his disability by working hard and believing in himself.
Some people might say that all of Walter's teachers did the best they could for Walter. Evidence in the book goes against this because Walter had teachers who lowered his grades out of spite, or slapped him for disrespect. It is quite clear that Mr. Irwin Lasher was the best teacher for Walter because he helped Walter's speech, self-esteem, and put him in AP classes. In a way, Mr. Lasher saved Walter.