A project called ‘I wish my teacher knew’ started by a grade three teacher in Denver Colorado has gone viral online.
Kyle Schwartz asked her students, eight and nine year-olds in an inner city school in Denver, to write down something they wished that she knew about them. The exercise was part writing test and part a way for Schwartz to better understand her students.
“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,” Kyle Schwartz told ABC News.
The responses to Schwartz’ assignment were in parts illuminating, heart warming and desperately upsetting – some students wrote about things such as not having any pencils at home, having absent parents and not having any friends to play with at lunch time.
While some chose to wrote their note anonymously, most chose to put their name to their post and the classmate’s reactions to the posts were uplifting to both Schwartz and the wider community after Schwartz began sharing photographs of the notes under the hashtag, #iwishmyteacherknew.
One particularly moving moment was when after the girl who wrote about not having anybody to play with, all the other girls in her class rallied around her in the playground and included her in their games.
As Schwartz told Reuters about the project,
“A lot of what we’re teaching is how to be a good friend. My students’ emotional needs are just as important as their academic needs.”
See some of the tweets below.
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) April 17, 2015
— Kyle Schwartz (@kylemschwartz) April 6, 2015
— TeacherLady (@erin1532) April 4, 2015