An elementary school teacher from Colorado was looking for a way to connect with her students, so she asked the kids to complete a simple writing assignment. Kyle Schwartz, who teaches third grade students at Doull Elementary in Colorado, told ABC News that she was struggling to related to her students and wanted to learn more about their lives.
So she asked them to complete the sentence “I wish my teacher knew…” on note cards. The responses she received are heart-wrenching.
Schwartz said that a lot of the kids in her class come from underprivileged homes. She hoped that through the assignment she could learn how to better help her students, and tailor her classroom to their unique needs.
She said in an interview with 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 responses she got back included dreams, like “I wish my teacher knew that I want to go to college.” Others brought up issues at home—one student wrote about the father they haven’t seen in six years.
Schwartz’s assignment has inspired the Twitter hashtag #IWishMyTeacherKnew, and she said she hopes to inspire more teachers to do the same.
You can see the notes from Schwartz’s third grade class in the slideshow above.