'What I wish my teacher knew': Grade 3 teacher's simple assignment reveals heartbreaking secrets

By Litaletu Zidepa
02 September 2016

"I wish my teacher knew I don’t have pencils at home to do my homework."

It was simple task.

When this primary school teacher asked her students to fill it out and bring back it the next day, she never could have imagined the response she'd get from her kids.

When Kyle Schwartz was a new teacher Doull Elementary School in Denver, in the US, she wanted to get to know her students a little better. So in an assignment, she asked them to complete the sentence: "I wish my teacher knew..." What happened next left her reeling. The string of emotional and humorous stories opened Kyle's eyes to the realities her students face every day.

"I wish my teacher knew I don’t have pencils at home to do my homework," one child wrote.

Another said, “I wish my teacher knew that sometimes my reading log is not signed because my mom isn’t around a lot.”

And those weren't the worst of them "I wish my teacher knew how much I miss my dad because he got deported to Mexico when I was 3 years old and I haven’t seen him in six years," another little one wrote. Kyle 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.” Overwhelmed by the stories, Kyle decided to post the stories on Twitter to raise awareness among teachers. She kept the conversation going under the hashtag #iwishmyteacherknew.

In her recently published book, I Wish My Teacher Knew: How One Question Can Change Everything For Kids, Kyle encourages fellow teachers to create a better connection between them and their students.

She also focuses on how important it is for parents to work in partnership with teachers for the sake of the child.

“As teachers, we know parents are the first and best teachers for their children and we want them to work with us,” she writes.

“I really want families to know how intentional teachers are about creating a sense of community and creating relationships with kids.” “Kids don’t learn when they don’t feel safe or valued.” Here are some more responses from Kyle's students:

Sources: ABCNews.go.com, BoredPanda.com,iwishmyteacherknewbook.com, Facebook

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