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Teacher's Attempt to Learn More About Students Results in Heartbreaking Notes

The relationship between teachers and students is often blurred by how much that teacher knows about what goes on in her student’s life. One elementary school teacher attempted to bridge that gap and what she found was heartbreaking.

"Ninety-two percent of our students qualify for free and reduced lunch," said Kyle Schwartz, a third grade teacher Doull Elementary in Denver, CO, at according to ABC News.

"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."

Schwartz came up with a new idea called “I Wish My Teacher Knew,” however she wasn’t expecting what would come out of it. Students were asked to share something they wished their teacher knew about them on a flashcard, whether or not they wanted to remain anonymous was up to them. The results of this exercise were heart wrenching.

“I wish my teacher knew how much I miss my dad because he got deported to Mexico when I was 3-years-old,” read one note. “I haven’t seen him in six years.”

These notes were so incredibly personal and deep. Not only did the children include their name for the most part, many also shared their thoughts with the classroom. Soon after the experience in the classroom, Schwartz began sharing the notes on Twitter using the hashtag #IWishMyTeacherKnew.

The notes contained confessions of not having pencils at home to do homework or not having a reading log signed because one student’s mother wasn’t around a lot. Overall, Schwartz says that building a community in her classroom is the major goal of the lesson.

“After one student shared that she had no one to play with at recess, the rest of the class chimed in and said, 'we got your back,'” said Schwartz.

“The next day during recess, I noticed she was playing with a group of girls. Not only can I support my students, but my students can support each other."

Schwartz could not have guessed that her lesson would have this impact on student’s relationship with her as well as others in the classroom. The exercise is a way for students to build trust and feel safe in their classroom. 

Read the full story and comment below.

Article by Navindra Persaud, Education World Contributor

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