'I Wish My Teacher Knew': Kids Share Heartbreaking Stories When Asked To Complete A Sentence

by Maria Guido
Originally Published: 

Teacher starts a movement by asking her kids to complete the sentence, “I wish my teacher knew…”

A Colorado teacher who felt she was struggling to understand the reality of her students’ lives thought of an assignment last year. Kyle Schwartz had her third grade students complete the following sentence,

I wish my teacher knew…

The responses she received gave her a unique look into their lives — and some of them are really heartbreaking. She took to Twitter to share them, and ended up starting a movement that would eventually lead to a published book that encourages teachers to use the exercise to better connect with their students. Here are some of the original tweets:

Schwartz told ABC News, “Ninety-two percent of our students qualify for free and reduced lunch. As a new teacher, I struggled to understand the reality of my students’ lives and how to best support them. I just felt like there was something I didn’t know about my students.”

The images of what the children were sharing struck a chord with teachers everywhere, and #IWishMyTeacherKnew quickly went viral, inspiring other teachers to reach out to their students in the same way. One teacher’s desire to know her students better ended up in a movement that has reached thousands of classrooms. And now, her recently published book will reach even more.

It’s a good reminder that sometimes we really just need to step back and listen to our kids. That’s all Schwartz did — she listened.

“I really want families to know how intentional teachers are about creating a sense of community and creating relationships with kids,” Ms. Schwartz told The New York Times. “Kids don’t learn when they don’t feel safe or valued.”

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