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Local teacher who became famous on 'Ellen' has new book

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GREENVILLE, Pitt County - A second-grade teacher who made headlines after appearing on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" released his first book on Tuesday.

Michael Bonner's book, called "Get Up or Give Up" hit bookstores today. It's all about some of the difficult trails educators face, including himself. It's hard to believe that the man you might have seen singing and dancing with his students -- who became famous when "Ellen" saw his social posts and gave him a big donation for his work -- almost gave up teaching forever. But that's the case nearly three years ago.

"I remember that third year, it was extremely rough and I had a chair thrown at me," said Bonner, who teaches at South Greenville Elementary School. "And I was like I'm not doing this, I'm 25, I can get out."

His book tells the story of his transformation that took place the summer after that incident.

"I came back with a fresh mindset," Bonner said. "I came back with this level or perseverance like, I'm not about to give up. You all are not gonna run me out, I'm gonna run Bonnerville."

Though his classroom may look like it's all fun and games, Bonner said he wrote the book to share some of the difficulties educators face every day.

"We deal with all types of situations, behaviors, whether the child may be dealing with foster care, or the child may be dealing with poverty, or abuse," Bonner said.

Bonner's unique approach to teaching is all about developing relationships with each student. He said that it's that approach that's made all the difference in his students' performance and his approach to teaching them, too.

"I just started this year, hugging them every morning, like 'hey how are you?' Like looking them in the eye. I don't care about teaching right now, I just want to make sure you're good," Bonner said.

You can find Bonner's book at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Walmart and at some local bookstores.

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