Dangerous Minds / Edition 1

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Overview

She bullied, bluffed, and bribed her students into caring about school.

And if that didn't work, the pretty, petite ex-marine told them she'd been trained to kill with her bare hands.

They were called the class from Hell-thirty-four inner city sophomores she inherited from a teacher who'd been "pushed over the edge." She was told "those kids have tasted blood. They're dangerous."

But LouAnne Johnson had a different idea. Where the school system saw thirty-four unreachable kids, she saw young men and women with intelligence and dreams. When others gave up on them, she broke the rules to give them the best things a teacher can give-hope and belief in themselves. When statistics showed the chances were they'd never graduate, she fought to beat the odds.

This is her remarkable story-and theirs.

If you loved Stand and Deliver, you'll stand up and cheer for LouAnne Johnson and Dangerous Minds.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The poignancy of her stories sneaks up on you and grabs hold of your heart." —Booklist

"Compelling!" —San Jose Mercury News

"Remarkable...Johnson proves that unorthodox methods can turn a problem kid into an 'A' student." —Vogue

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312956202
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/1995
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 278
  • Product dimensions: 4.25 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.71 (d)

Meet the Author

LouAnne Johnson

LouAnne Johnson, a former Marine, teaches high school in California. Her first book, Making Waves, was about her experiences in the service.

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Read an Excerpt

Dangerous Minds

ONE

My Dog Ate It

I couldn't concentrate. Raul Chacon was standing in the middle of the parking lot outside my classroom, shivering in the freezing rain. It was a bitterly cold, dreary day in mid-January, but Raul, clad in his Parkmont gym shorts and T-shirt, stood with his eyes closed, his face turned up into the downpour. Several students and one teacher had tried to reason with him, but Raul was determined, for some unknown reason, to stand outside. I tried to ignore him, hoping he would grow tired of his game and rejoin the class, but he looked so pathetic with his sopping wet clothes clinging to his skinny arms and legs.

"Park your seats and zip your lips." I stared down the last few resisters and gave the class a final warning. "If you want to live to be old enough to get a driver's license, start writing and don't stop until I tell you to." They sat and they wrote, but I knew they'd be out of their seats, noses pressed to the windows, the moment I stepped outside.

"Raul!" I squished across the muddy grass. "What are you doing?" He didn't respond even when I stood directly in front of him. I put my hand on his shoulder.

"I'm okay, Miss J.," he said, without opening his eyes. "Don't worry. My real clothes are in my gym bag. I'm winning a bet!"

"I'll bet you that if you aren't in my room in two minutes, you're going to be very sorry. Do you understand?" I said. Raul opened his eyes and looked at me, surprised. Threats and orders weren't my style.

"Move!" I said, pointing to the door. Raul shrugged, sighed, and obediently sloshed across the yard and into the classroom, where the other students scrambled for their seats. I sent Raul to the restroom to dry off and change his clothes. When he returned, his best friend, Gusmaro Guevarra, handed him a navy blue down-filled jacket that swallowed Raul's wiry ninety-five-pound body as he sank into his chair and began writing along with the class.

After a fifteen-minute free writing period, I assigned the students a short story to read from their literature books while I collected their journals. I had intended to keep Raul after class and give him a stern lecture, but I ended up giving him a hundred dollars instead. During the silent reading period, I had read his journal entry:

Hi! Miss or Ms. or Mrs. Johnson, 1 know your probally thinking it was pretty stupid what I was doing but I don't care if I got wet because Julio gave me $20 to stand outside in the middle of the parking lot for 20 minutes while it was raining and I did it. He gave me the money as soon as I walked into class all soaked wet and dripping all over the floor—sorry. I stayed out there all those twenny minutes and I wasn't even cold because I knew I would get that money. No matter how fast the wind was blowing or how hard the water wasfalling I stayed out there until my time was done. I was thinking about the $20. And I would do it again. I would do just about anything you can think of for $20 even if everybody thinks I'm a dum ass.

After class, Raul explained that he needed money to pay the man who had sold him the blue down jacket. He had already given the man forty dollars, but he didn't have the balance and the man had demanded full payment, or else.

"Why did you buy a jacket on the street instead of a store?" I asked. Raul sighed and shook his head at my naivete.

"You don't get no good deals in stores," he said. "You know how much this jacket would of costed in a store?" I looked at the jacket. It was expensive, all right, and it dawned on me that the jacket had probably been stolen and resold at a bargain price. I decided to save the issue of buying stolen goods for a later date and concentrate on the current crisis.

"How much money do you need?" I asked.

"A hundred dollars."

"I'll lend you the money," I said. Raul shook his head.

"No way," he said, his face breaking into a lopsided grin. "I can't take your money. You're always telling us teachers are poor."

"I'm not that poor," I insisted. "And I want to lend you this money. You can pay me back before you graduate. That will give you two and a half more years. Okay?" Raul hesitated for a few seconds.

"With interest?"

"No interest," I said.

"With interest," Raul insisted. "All loans have interest."

"Okay," I agreed. "With interest. I'll get the money at lunchtime and you can stop by my room later and pick it up. And there is one condition that goes with the loan." Raul's face closed immediately.

"There's always a string, huh?" he said.

"Yes," I said. "And this is a big string, but I wouldn't attach it if I didn't love you. You can't pay me back until your graduation day."

Raul drew in his breath and pursed his lips. He was a seventeen-year-old sophomore, which meant he'd be nineteen if he stayed in school to complete his senior year. He'd also be the first person in all the generations of his family to graduate. I knew that every day he was tempted to drop out and find a job to help support his large family. I also knew that he wanted an education.

"I'm counting on you to graduate, Raul," I said. "You know you can do it. Deal?" I held out my hand and held my breath. If Raul shook my hand, he'd kill himself to keep his word of honor. He shook my hand, then crooked his fingers and slid his hand down until it caught the ends of my fingers. With his left hand, he curled my fingers around his and placed our thumbs against each other.

"Deal."

When Raul came to pick up the money, he asked me if I wanted a signature receipt. I told him his handshake was enough for me. Solemnly, he shook my hand again, bumped thumbs with me, and accepted the money. The next morning, he was waiting for me outside my classroom when I arrived. He pulled a sheet of folded notebook paper from his back pocket, handed me the paper, and walked away without a word. I was afraid he'd changed his mind about our deal.

"Dear Miss or Ms. or Mrs. Johnson, I know you aren't married, but you used to be married, so you might not be a Miss anymore, and Ms. Polk says we should call all the ladies Ms. but that don't sound too good," Raul had written.

Last week, you told us to write in our journals about the nicest thing anybody ever did for us and I had to make something up because nobody never did nothing nice for me that I can remember before now. So I wrote you a lie because I know you like it when we write a hole bunch of stuff in our journals. I didn't want to lie, but I didn't want you to get mad at me for not writing in my journal. Anyway, what you did yesterday was the nicest thing and I think you did it because you think I am wonderful, honest, smart, and special! (That's what you always tell us anyway and I think you really believe it.) Anyway, I am going to work harder in school so I won't let you down because if you think I can make it then I can make it. I never did my own homework or tests before. Me and my posse always copy off whoever did it because we don't like to do homework and we can't be seen carrying books home. Besides, I don't got no time to do it anyway because I have to work almost every day after school. But I'm gonna try to do my own homework only don't be surprised if I flunk everything because I never did it before. Before, whenever my teachers asked me for my homework, I always told them that my dog ate it, but I don't got no dog so I won't tell you that lie because you trust me. And I don't know nobody else who would give $100 to a Mexican kid on a handshake.

It had taken months to convince Raul that he was intelligent, that he could learn as well as the next person if only he would try. He was the jokester of his posse, a group of four Hispanic boys who lived on the East Side and banded together for protection and courage during the daily bus trip to the alien Caucasian planet of Parkmont. Although they were fiercely loyal, the posse's loyalty didn't extend to academic transcripts. The other three boys worked hard to create a juvenile delinquent image to offset their B grade averages, but Raul often failed his courses because his friends counted on him for entertainment during class and encouraged him to act the fool. In spite of his low grades and lack of confidence in his intellectual abilities, Raul's intelligence was obvious in his quick grasp of abstract concepts and his verbal agility. Although his essays sometimes drowned in grammatical errors, they were invariably original and demonstrated his astute perception. The other Academy teachers shared my assessment of Raul's potential; Raul remained the only person to be convinced.

For a few weeks after our deal and Raul's vow to start doing his own work, his grades slid downhill, especially in math. Instead of copying his homework during the few minutes prior to class, he actually tried to do it at home. His math teacher, aware of Raul's "new leaf," encouraged him to continue in spite of the many errors in his work. The other teachers and I also bit our tongues and accepted the mangled papers Raul painstakingly prepared for us.

Our patience paid off. Just two months after he started doing his own work, Raul got the highest grade in the class on a math test. He was ecstatic. The staff was delighted. Raul's posse was indignant. Since grade school, he had been their pet clown, their scapegoat,their primary source of amusement. Now, by accepting our encouragement and succeeding on his own, without their support, he had become a stranger. They taunted him and tried to distract him during class, but he refused to let go of his newfound freedom. He was a fierce fighter, even though he was one of the smallest boys in class at an even five feet.

When the other boys—Gusmaro, Julio, and Victor—realized that Raul was not going to be intimidated, they gave up and halfheartedly joined him, complaining that the posse had lost its power because Raul had changed the group's focus. Instead of creating the "ruthless" (their highest compliment) street fighter image they had previously strived for, he had moved their group into the academic arena. Gusmaro followed directly in Raul's footsteps, with Julio and Victor trailing reluctantly behind, but determined to hang with the group. By the end of the first quarter, Raul had raised his grade point average from 1.5 to a respectable 2.8. For the first time in his life, his report card listed all passing grades, which inspired another burst of effort. By the time semester finals rolled around, Raul sat at the head of the class academically. He was the first one in class for the English final and the last one to leave. As I waited for him to complete his exam essay, I heard his stomach growl. I recognized the sound as one that I had heard several times during the exam, but at the time, I couldn't pinpoint its source.

"Raul, how many times have I told you that you need to eat something?" I asked. "Your brain needs fuel."

He looked up from his paper and nodded at me but didn't say anything, which was unusual for him. It occurred to me that maybe there was no breakfast at his house. I knew his family didn't have much money. In his autobiography, Raul had written that his fatherhad completed only the third grade, his mother the second; neither of them could read or write more than a legal signature in any language. The oldest of nine children, Raul would be the first Chacon to graduate from high school—if he could hold out for two more years. There was pressure from his father to get a full-time job so that he could contribute to the family's meager income. His father was a landscape gardener, and often Raul had to work for him after school, in addition to handling his own job as a restaurant busboy.

"What did you have for breakfast today?" I asked. "Anything?"

"Beans," Raul said in a very tired voice. "That's what we have every day. Beans for breakfast. Beans for lunch. Beans for supper. I'm sick of beans so I didn't eat no breakfast today. That's why my stomach was making so much noise during the test. I'm sorry, Miss J. I tried to make it be quiet, but it didn't work. It just keeped on rumbling and squeaking and I hate that because some of the kids think that I'm farting—" I held up my hand to stop Raul's explanation.

"I'm not criticizing you," I said. "I just wanted you to know that it's important to eat breakfast so your brain will have some fuel for your morning classes."

"Yeah," Raul agreed. "I was feeling pretty stupid today, but I didn't know it was because I was hungry. I thought it was just my old stupid brain coming back."

"You aren't stupid," I argued. "But it's stupid not to eat anything at all. Can't you get a roll or an apple or something on the way to school?"

"I don't have time to get something because I usually just make the bus," Raul explained. "But don't worry, Miss J., I ain't gonna quit on you. You trusted me and I won't let you down." He glanced at the clock. "Igotta go or I'll be late!" Jamming his baseball cap onto his head, backward as usual, he grabbed his books. "And you don't have to worry about your hundred dollars, neither," he said as he headed for the door.

 

At the end of the semester, we gave "Academy awards" for academic performance, good behavior, perfect attendance, and overall improvement. The awards were simple paper certificates created on one of the computers in our school lab, but the kids accepted them as though they had been sent directly from the White House. For many of them, it was the first time in their lives that they had ever received positive recognition from school. Raul received the overall improvement award. I shot two rolls of film and sent a few photos, along with a short article, to the local newspapers. Two days later, Raul's grinning face appeared on the front page of the East Bay Reporter, a paper targeted at the minority readership in Raul's section of the city. That morning, Raul bounced into the classroom and graciously accepted the compliments and catcalls from his classmates. That afternoon, Raul walked into the boys' locker room and was stabbed in the stomach by a boy with a homemade knife.

It made no sense. Raul had done nothing. He didn't even know the boy. But when I found out the boy's name—Alberto Mendoza—I felt as though I had been stabbed myself. Alberto had wanted to come into the Academy program, but we didn't accept him the first year because of his severely limited ability to read, write, or understand English. We had planned to invite him to join us at the start of the second year if his English had improved. Unfortunately, we didn't tell Alberto of our plan. Consumed by jealousy, he hadvented his frustration on Raul after he saw the photo in the paper.

 

Raul recovered quickly and was back in school in time for a special luncheon hosted by the elegant Hotel Le Bonne. As an incentive for academic progress, as well as to give them an opportunity to experience dining at a fine restaurant, the hotel management had "adopted" our Academy students and generously arranged to treat four students each month to a gourmet meal in the main dining salon, at tables set with fine linen, silver, and crystal.

Raul was among the first to be chosen for the luncheon. When his name was announced, he jumped out of his chair, shot his right fist into the air, and yelled, "Yes!" He didn't want to see the sample menu the hotel provided for the students to preview. He had only one question: Did they have chicken? Chicken was his favorite dish and a rare treat at home. Gusmaro, one of the more sophisticated students, had also been chosen to attend the lunch. He scanned the menu and asked if Raul wouldn't prefer filet mignon to chicken.

"What's filet mignon?" Raul demanded. "Is it big?"

"It's the best steak," Gusmaro explained. "About this big." He connected his thumbs and middle fingers and shaped an oval.

"No way," Raul said. "I ain't eating no little piece of steak when I can get a half a chicken."

For three days, the upcoming lunch was the main topic of conversation during class breaks. The kids who were going checked the menu several times each day and changed their minds each time about what they would order when the big day came. The kids who hadn't been chosen wanted to know if they were on the list to go next time and, if not, when they were scheduled.A few pretended not to care. One girl announced that she didn't care if she never got picked because she ate there all the time and was bored with it. The day before the luncheon, Raul stopped by between classes and said that he didn't think he'd be going to the lunch after all; he had something important to do and it couldn't be postponed. He refused to discuss it and I had to teach a class, so I didn't get a chance to talk to him until after school. I called him at home and pressed him for details.

"I just can't go," Raul insisted.

"Why?" I asked for the fifth time. Raul sighed.

"Okay. I'll tell you. Because I don't got a suit to wear. Gusmaro said you have to wear a suit and a tie and I don't got one. And I don't got fancy shoes, neither. So I can't go. But don't worry about it. You can take somebody else." He paused, then added, "I just wish I could of ate that chicken."

"You're going to eat that chicken," I said. "Just show up for school tomorrow." As soon as I hung up, I went to a discount clothing store and bought a dress shirt, a tie, a sports coat, socks, and a pair of leather shoes. I also bought an inexpensive door mirror and tacked it to the wall in the back of the classroom, thinking it might inspire some of my students to consider their appearance.

Attired in the new clothes, Raul was mesmerized by his reflection. He turned right and left to check his profile.

"I never wore a suit before," he said. "I look pretty handsome, don't I?"

"You look gorgeous," I assured him. "Now let's go get your chicken."

 

 

At the restaurant, before the entrée arrived, Raul had polished off five sourdough rolls and had drunk four glasses of ice water. He was amazed at the instantaneous refilling of his water glass and bread plate. He'd drain his glass, then check the second hand on my watch to see how long the glass remained empty before the smiling waiter reappeared. The only thing that impressed him more than the fast and gracious service was the wine list. He spent several minutes inspecting the list carefully, trying out the names of the various wines, pretending that he planned to order one. At length, he closed the wine list.

"How much does the wine coast?" he asked.

"It depends on whether you order a bottle or a glass," I said. "Aren't the prices on the list?"

"It says four or five dollars for the glass," Raul said. "But don't you have to pay extra for the wine?" I started to explain that the price was for the wine and not the glass itself, but Raul's chicken arrived and he lost interest in everything else until his plate was clean.

When the waiter rolled the dessert cart to our table, Gusmaro whistled and nudged Raul. "Too bad you pigged out, homey," Gusmaro said. "You won't have room for this."

"Watch me," Raul said. We all watched him. He ate three desserts. When he finished the last one, he put down his fork and beamed at me.

"All that brain fuel. I'll be smart tumorrow, hey, Miss J.?"

Back at school, Raul changed into his own clothes and returned the new clothes to me, carefully folded. As he handed them to me, he hesitated.

"What are you gonna do with these?" he asked.

"I'm going to keep them here in case somebody else needs to wear them."

"Maybe I should take these home and wash them, what do you think?"

"I doubt if they got dirty," I said. "You only wore them for a couple of hours."

"Well, I hope I didn't stink them up," Raul said. "I didn't get to take a shower before school this morning. My father was hogging the bathroom."

"I'm sure it's all right," I said.

"But I thought we had to take a shower every day. You know that sheet you gave us about whether we would get recommended for a job?"

"Yes." As part of our vocational preparedness, the Academy teachers had given each student a checklist showing which areas we felt were their strongest and weakest as potential employees. Quite a few kids received recommendations that they pay more attention to hygiene—hair, fingernails, general cleanliness.

"On that sheet, it said we were supposed to take a shower every day. Some of us guys have been staying home if we don't get to take a shower."

"Well, if you can't take a shower, you can't take one," I said. "That's it. But you should still come to school. I'll give you a pass to go to the restroom and wash up if you need to."

"Okay," Raul said. "Thanks for the lunch. It was the best lunch I ever had." He started out the door and stopped.

"If I stay in school and learn the computers and graduate, I know I'll get a better job," he said. "But do you think I'll get a good enough job so I can live in an apartment with two bathrooms?"

"Yes, I do," I said.

"Two bathrooms," Raul said, smiling to himself. He looked at me and the smile widened into his familiar grin. "And no beans."

Copyright © 1992 by LouAnne Johnson.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 27 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 27 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Minds That Are In Danger

    The Summary of this book dangerous minds is about a nine year veteran Marine Corps with a degree in education. I this book was really good i love how they she told people in the book about bad it was back in the day and how students had problems in school and how kids where trying to firgure there way out of the hood problems and gangs problems. To me this book cought my eye because it i known some people that are in this problem that are in the book because to me if you want to try to get out of this bad life that you are in you must go to school and try to stay out of trouble.

    I also think that kids are have problems should go to there teachers and ask them for help so they can help them and firgure out what they can do to help them with there problems in there life. I use to go to my favorite teacher back in high school Mr. Mraz and he use always help me with my problems and i always thank him for the help if it wasnt because of him i don't think i would be in college right now. I say everyone who has a problem there lifes i think should read this book because if you do read this book you going to like love it and going to keep on reading it over and over again all the time.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2008

    Very Inspirational Book!

    In the book Dangerous Minds by Louanne Johnson, an ex-marine, who has prior experience and training with handling youth, has chosen to work in an inner city school. Not knowing some of the challenges she has to face, she began teaching one of the worst English classes. While dealing with various situations with the students, she realizes that there is more to the students than what everyone makes of them. Throughout the book she tries her best to help the students accomplish their goals and show everyone that they're smarter than what they may seem. She keeps them motivated and does what she can to help them succeed, in some cases, breaking the rules and going out of her way to help them in their personal lives. She puts up a fight for them and helps them by making personal connections with them and getting involved with their parents. By doing this, she gains the students attention and respect leading them to better futures. I rate this book with four stars. Although the book wasn't the best book, it wasn¿t the worst either. I liked the book because an encouraging teacher can always be helpful. Many teachers don't know it, but when they become involved in a students life and show that they really care, it can change a whole student's perspective of school. I liked how she didn't have to get involved but she did. She went out of her way to make a difference in the lives of many of her students, sometimes doing things that weren't even allowed as a teacher. Teachers make an impact on students and I think if we had more like Ms.Johnson in our school systems today, many students wouldn't turn to drugs, violence, and gangs that we now have today. I would recommend this book to anyone because it can give an insight to those who are just like students in the book those who think there is no hope and think no one cares. It can also give an insight to those who wish to see how a teacher can change a student's life, how getting involved can make a difference. Also, this book can be great for a new teacher or even a teacher who just wish to learn how to draw their students in. Many teachers today have difficulty getting students involved and I think by reading this, it can give them some examples on how to get them to want to learn just as Ms. Johnson did finding a new way to better the students and finding a way to better their teaching education.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2014

    Especially for aspiring teachers Danger Minds is a Heart wrenchi

    Especially for aspiring teachers Danger Minds is a Heart wrenching and touching story about a student teacher that gets ripped from her class room as a student teacher and put into a classroom of all to worldly teenagers in a low part of town. Miss j's plan is to be a college professor until she decides that she can do more for these kids than anyone ever has before. Before long she decides to come up with new programs, and academic success stratagies to get these kids thinking, graduating, and ready to think!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2009

    The Adventours of Dangerous Minds

    The book was very intresting and Michelle Peifer is a good actress. this book realates to the movie Dangeours Minds. i recamand people this book because teen-agers can realate to this book because they are in high school. All the bad students changed in the end because of the teacher Mrs. Johnson. She was just a reagualar teacher. Mrs. Johnson was caring inspring teacher that changed those sophomore students lives personaly and mentally. Mrs. Johnson made them see it's much more then life, then just gang violence, and having kids and not doing your work. Mrs. Johnson made them see life is so much more then that. Before Mrs. Johnson was a very caring techer she cared about the students and she helped them out. She made them realize education is key in life. Education is everything in life and without that you just be like a regualr average person. Living by check to check never be saifesed you hate your job but with an education you can be anything you want to be if you set your mind to it. Mrs. Johnson opened they eyes and expaned they minds sets.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2008

    Dangerous Minds

    In the book Dangerous Minds is a very good book about teachers. A teacher named Miss Johnson an ex-marine, who faced a lot of tasks, had a bigger one on her shoulders. Johnson showed the school that she cares about her students. She believes that everyone had the potential to graduate and become a successful person. She placed students from different cultures and different learning skills in a program to help them learn better and understand. She didn¿t want to stay very long in the teaching world, but when the student¿s life came to her attention she wanted to make a difference. She made them write in a journal so she can get a better understanding of them and where they come from. She called all of her students to see how they were doing and to tell them very positive things. She wants the respect from the students as a teacher and as a person just like them. Johnson would do some military tricks to get the students to listen and respect her, and to give them an education. I give this book four stars because it kept me interested and it was fast moving. This book actually shows us what is happening in other schools and some schools relate to this book because of the violence and not having trust in the students. Some schools also don¿t have the attention of the faculty trying to get these young children to move on in life and just tell them to drop out.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2008

    typical story

    Dangerous minds is a book about a teacher named Miss Johnson who pretty much has tough skin with being an ex marine. She begins to teach at a high school where the kids are never given a chance and are always told they are going to fail. The students she was given had just finished making the teacher before herself run out on her job. Therefore the students thought they would gang up on Miss Johnson and easily remove her, but they had another thing coming. Miss Johnson has to carefully teach every student in a different way because some of them have different and deeper problems from others even if it has to do with simple tasks like reading. Miss Johnson tricks them into learning and makes them actually solve problems on their own without them even noticing. She would use her Marine tone and almost threaten the kids to get her point across and make sure they knew she wasn¿t going anywhere, it was tough love. These students were always being given up on and never did have a chance. The students had their guard up because they didn¿t want to let another person in their personal life that would just end up forgetting about them. As time goes on, maturity within the students start to develop and they soon discover how childish their past ways were. I would have to rate this book three out of five stars. The book it self was very easy to relate to and what not, but it had nothing special about it to stand out. What kept me interested was wanting to see what would be the outcome of the students later on. It has your typical teacher student plot like many others, but with a few of its own drama. If you are going to be reading this book for a class and having to do responses, then you might not want to choose this book because there isn¿t really any depth in the reading. However, if you are very good about being able to grab any little detail and elaborating from it, or just for your own personal reading then you probably would choose this. This book seems like it can be read by kids who are even in just middle school.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2007

    leap frog

    LouAnne Jonhson, wrote the book Dangerous Minds. She was an ex-marine turned teacher who taught inner city kids. Her training as an ex-marine came in handy dealing with her youths in and outside of the classroom. Ms. Jonhson had instants were she taught them manners to dealing with stealing issues. Ms. Jonhson knew some of her student's familys had finicial problems. So she spent her own money on them. For example, she bought one of her students glasses, or another by bailing him out by paying for what he had stoled. She also gave another boy an incentive to gradurate. She gave him some money for a coat, and then he needed to pay her back by gradurating. Ms. Jonhson's writing style was very confusing for me. She did not go in conalogical order. In the begining she would go back inforth, and I wasn't sure were she was at times. There were parts that I could relate to, eventhough I grew up in the suburbs.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2007

    Dangerous Minds

    In the Novel Dangerous Minds by Louanne Johnson opened my eyes on how teachers can be with there students. This book is written by Ms. J an ex-marine corps officer, former U.S Navy journalist. She had moved to an inner city where she had encountered many things that come her way. She became a teacher of thirty-four inner city sophomore students. She realized that this was not an ordinary class. It was a class from hell. Her unique teaching techniques changed her students for the better, one by one. She knows that the students are smart and has dreams but they are too scared to show it. She doesn¿t want any of the kids to give up but to realize that education is very important in life. Ms. Johnson is always with her students and helping them in every single way. Sometimes she even bribed her students to pay attention and care about school. They will become respectful and achieve there goals. All the other teachers doubted these kids but she fought and proved them wrong. She goes as far as getting involved with her own students¿ lives. I believe that teachers are guiders in school¿s environments. Teachers and students should understand each others point of view. This book opened my eyes because I never read about at teacher helping teenagers as much as she did. I know that I want to become a teacher and hopefully I can help students like the ones I read. This book is now made into a video but I like the book much more. I definitely recommended this book for everyone, teachers and students.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2007

    Good book to read

    I thought the book Dangerous Minds was a really good book. It did jump around alot but you were able to understand it. What I liked most about the book was that Ms. Johnson really cared about her students. Ms. Johnson tried really hard to help them succeed in school and life. When all the other teachers gave up on them she stayed and believed in them. The book really explained how she helped the students. At first she didn't think she was going to be able to handle teaching in that school but she did and she stayed and kept teaching. Ms.Johnson really believed in her students and when other teachers told her how bad the students were but she didn't listen to them because she knew they were wrong. After a while the students started to care about her too. Ms. Johnson made sure she called everyones parents to tell them how good their children were. The students always thought that Ms. Johnson was only calling to tell them how they misbehaved. She really pushed her students to stay in school and to do well in school. She helped some spanish students get into a higher English class because she thought the class they were in was too easy for them. Ms. Johnson helped one student buy a suit so he could go to a fancy restaurant dressed nice. Then she helped another student by buying him a pair of glasses. I think when she helped the students with their problems like the two students above it really showed she loved and cared about them. Overall I thought it was a good book and would recommend it. I would give it a 5.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2007

    It is a nice Recommendable Book

    First of all I will say that this book is a four'4' star book. I really do not like to read novels, but I admit that this book is nice. It is good for everybody most especially for school. To both teachers and students, I will recommend this book to. I will recommend this book to teachers so that they may see how student handling should be done. I will also recommend this book to student so that they may also see that not all teachers they can get away with in doing bad things. This book is based on a true life events I believe the author went through. The author of this book, I believe, was in the U.S Navy or Marines. The way Ms.Johnson who is also known as Ms. J, handles her students. Although Ms. J handles her students the Navy way but still she never gives. She stood firm by her students, to make sure that they succeed in life after school. Ms. Johnson, I will say, is a real model other teachers should mimic. I gave this four stars because I personally do not like the way the author wrote the book. Although this book does not have a straight forward story line, but believe me, this book is AWSOME!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2007

    Dangerous Minds

    This book Dangerous Minds by LouAnne Johnson, showed students that there are teachers out there who would want to stand by their side to help them succeed in life. No matter what goes on in your life, a helping hand is right there waiting for you. I recommend this book to students and teachers.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2007

    Dangerous Minds

    In the novel Dangerous Minds by LouAnne Johnson, Ms. Johnson, a teacher in an urban school, encouraged her students to make something of themselves later on in life. The book moves at a slow pace but picks up as you read on. Overall this book is a good learning tool for those in the education field.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2006

    Dangerous Minds

    For the past couple of weeks, i have been reading 'Dangerous Minds' by Louanne Johnson. She was once an ex marine who became a teacher. She finds herself helping many students with their lives and education. Louanne begins her new job by teaching a class full of trouble. Through out the book the reader sees the failure in the students beginning to fade. The students find Trust that they needed in Miss. Johnson, and the care that they wanted in her. This book is a great read that keeps the reader wanting Louanne Johnson to succeed in what seems like a mission to make students learn.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2006

    'An Ideal Teacher'

    A book about a teacher and the certain ways to find out how children really learn and the troubles a teacher may go through having a tough classroom full of hard nosed students. ¿Dangerous Minds¿ by Louanne Johnson is an ex-military officer who resided in L.A. to teach a class that has a lot of problems. These kids are troubled and are considered by society to be the lower class and almost certain to drop out. She runs into problems with the students and finds ways to help better their education and the lives of the students. She has brought success where failure was almost certain. She taught Shakespeare when Basic English was good enough, but this teacher didn¿t settle for just plain old good, she wanted greatness and strived for it. Throughout the book she provides the readers with a glimpse of the problems at hand each chapter presented a new problem with a solution that she had come to. Over the twenty three chapters she had solved or bettered the situation most of the time which I believe promoted a good teacher. I would recommend this to any teacher who wants to learn new ways to better their teaching education and also to any one who wants to read a good book about a teacher doing wonders for education.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2006

    From a Student Reader

    This book can get old pretty fast and has nothing but dialogue, that¿s why it got 3 stars from me. It could¿ve been better, with a more complex plot. It was too simple. Originally from a novel made into a movie, this book has lots of dialogue, so it¿s no wonder it became a film. Ms. Johnson is the main character in the book she helped her students as much as she could. She¿s probably one of a few teachers that put her heart into her career she gave that much to her students. This book takes place in a ghetto environment, public school, so if you¿re looking for a book dealing with teaching and schooling in an area like that, and dealing with non-fiction scenes, maybe you should check this book out. It¿s mainly about a teacher and how she deals with all types of students.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2006

    Dangderous Minds

    This book is a teaching tool for everybody, teachers, students, and schools in general. There are teachers out there that really care and show that they do. ¿Ms. J.,¿ Ms. Johnson, shows throughout the entire book, over and over again, that she cares for her students and wants them the succeed in what ever they want to do. This book is written by an ex-marine corps officer, former US Navy Journalist, who became a teacher and she shows what it takes to get students to succeed. The reason that I like this book is because it was about how a real teacher should be. Ms. Johnson cared about her students and didn¿t want them to fail. I would rate this book 5 stars. I think that any student would like to read this book to find out what a devoted teacher is like. I also think that teachers would like to read this book to see what they should be teaching like and what kind of discipline students need.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2006

    Good Book

    I really don¿t like reading a lot, but this book was really interesting. Dangerous Minds by Louanne Johnson is a nonfiction book and is based on a true story. It is about bad behaving students trying to get through high school. Most of the teachers in this school gave up on them, but there was one teacher who didn¿t, and that was Mrs. Johnson or as her students called her Mrs. J. She was an excellent teacher, she did everything she could to help her students. She made sure that they stayed out of trouble and in school. I like the way she was worried about her students that she wrote about in the book and how she helped them be successful. Mrs. Johnson helped her students from personal issues to giving them money if they need it. She educated her students, and after struggling with them, at the end they were thankful of the time she put in for them. This book can really grab your interest. I recommend this book to students, because it can give them an inside look on how can a teacher change students¿ lives. It can also be good to students who are having bad times at school. I recommend it to teachers too, because it would be helpful for them to read about the experience that Mrs. Johnson had with trouble making students, and read how she handles them, I think that they are going to get some good information about that. This book showed me that there are teachers that really care about the education of their students and they can be a big part to success in life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2006

    Dangerous Minds

    I would rate the book Dangerous Minds by Louanne Johnson 5 stars. It was a really great book that gave you a real look on how the real world is and how one teacher can change so many lives one step at a time. From the start I could tell it was going to be a great book and it kept me reading because it never got boring. It was about inner city kids coming together for one reason- summer school in need to pass. They were called the class from hell but the teacher really cared and stuck it through. So this book is really good and I would recommend it to anybody to read because it was so great and you might learn something.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2005

    Feels Like You Are In The Classroom...

    LouAnne Johnson is an ex-marine who becomes an inner-city school teacher. Ms. Johnson wrote ¿My Posse Don¿t Do Homework¿, a title that was later changed to ¿Dangerous Minds¿ for a feature film and adopted for future book publications. Ms. Johnson writes from her own real-life experiences. While she does change the names of the people in her book, each chapter is a real account of actual events. {NEW PARAGRAPH}¿Dangerous Minds¿ seems to be written only because LouAnne Johnson had so many varied classroom experiences. The book does not target one certain audience and this is what makes the book so enjoyable to many audiences. As an aspiring teacher, this book touched me to teach to every student. Each student is special in their own right and the teacher needs to look for that special quality, praise and encourage that student, and even show tough love at times but never forget that to show tough love, the teacher must first ¿love¿. ¿Dangerous Minds¿ would also be an appealing book to a student that is faced with similar situations that appear in the book. It could serve as notice that all students can overcome their circumstances and learn if they choose to do so. This book could also help other students who are not faced with these same circumstances. It could open the eyes of students who hold themselves higher than disadvantages youths and help them to understand that all people are just that¿people, we are just faced with different challenges. Another group that could benefit from this book is parents, especially parents of disadvantages children. The parents could learn quite a bit about the need for support from others in the home towards the student. When a child has a supportive family, he or she is more apt to achieve in the classroom. . {NEW PARAGRAPH}¿Dangerous Minds¿ is an exciting book about a new school teacher who has just taken a job in an inner-city school. The teacher, Ms. Johnson, is an ex marine who believes she has left the marine side of herself behind until she finds herself ¿threatening¿ her students. She reveals to them that she has been trained to kill with her bare hands and while she does not intend to carry out this threat she does use it to keep her student¿s attention. Ms. Johnson believes that every student is special and can learn if given the right opportunity. Her classes are filled with poverty-stricken, behavior problem students but somehow she still feels that their outside does not reveal their true inside. Ms. Johnson reaches out to each student as an individual and looks for what drives them. This may be acceptance of friends, acceptance of family, acceptance of the teacher, clothing, food, trips, or money. Whatever motivates her students, Ms. Johnson finds what it is and gives freely of herself to help the student achieve what they want as long as they also work to achieve in her classroom. . {NEW PARAGRAPH}This book has many strengths but one that truly stands out. Each teacher should get to know and accept their students. Not in just a way where they can have a casual conversation, but truly get to know the students and understand where they came from, who they are now and where they are going. Teachers need to talk to each individual student but even more important, the teacher needs to listen when the student talks to them. This conversation can happen verbally, through journal writings, or even in body language. When the student does feel free to open up to the teacher, the teacher needs to accept the student for who he or she is without judgement. As a teacher, we can teach right from wrong without being judgemental. . {NEW PARAGRAPH}This is easily one of my favorite books. I do not feel that I am an avid reader and have found myself not finishing books that I start. It is quite a compliment to the author when I am consumed by a book so my compliments go to LouAnne Johnson. I felt like I was a part of these students¿ lives and I could not put thi

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2005

    A great eye opener!!!!

    *This book is about a new teacher that has just taken a new job in a terrible neighborhood. Ms. Johnson is an ex-marine, which was trained to kill with her bare hands, with this particular feature used to get her students attention. She is one of those people that believe that not everyone is rotten inside. Even though they might be all thug on the outside it¿s not always that way on the inside. The students that she taught all came from rough backgrounds were most of their did not even finish high school. She goes as far as getting involved with her own students¿ lives, which is in great danger. She gained her students trust and has faith in to be a person, a human being that does not give up and tries. She gave her students the drive to gain more and more need for knowledge successfulness which no other teacher gave them before. **I really enjoyed this book because it contains all real life evidence of how some students live in bad hoodlums. How they sometimes have teachers that do not appreciate them as much as they should. There are teachers just like Miss Johnson that wish to take these students to a better place of education. To prove that it is not always the way it looks like on the surroundings, it all lies within one-self. This is a book that I would most definitely recommend to anyone who loves to read about life this would be a great book to relate to life itself.

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