Teacher asks kids for honest letters, and their answers will stun you
Kyle Schwartz, a third grade teacher at Doull Elementary in Denver, had a special assignment for her class. According to Schwartz, in her three years of teaching most of her students had come from underprivileged homes. Schwartz wanted to know her students better. She wanted to help them open up.
Schwartz told ABC News that 95 percent of the students at her school qualified for free and reduced lunch. In order to better know how to support these kids, she asked them an important question: What do you wish I knew about you?
Schwartz's lesson plan was called "I Wish My Teacher Knew." In the assignment, she asked her third grade class to write down a note to the teacher, sharing something personal they would like her to know. Schwartz also allowed students to answer anonymously, though most kids were more than willing to write their name on the letter and share it with the class.
Maybe it was the fact that these kids are still young and innocent. Maybe it was because they had been waiting for someone to ask them about their life all along. Either way, the responses to the assignment were brutally honest. Schwartz was so blown away that she posted the notes to Twitter, sparking a social media frenzy.
Some notes were cute
"I wish my teacher knew that my brother is sleeping so hard that he is breathing to hard and loud that I can not sleep (sic)."
Some notes were inspiring
"I wish my teacher knew that I want to go to college."
Most notes were heartbreaking
"I wish my teacher knew my parents."
"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 6 years."
"I wish my teacher knew I don't have friend to paly with me (sic)."
Schwartz's Twitter hashtag #IWishMyTeacherKnew has inspired other teachers to try the same activity with their students. Teachers around the U.S. are reaching out to Schwartz to tell her job well done and to thank her for making such an impact on her class.
I believe that what Schwartz did for these kids is nothing short of amazing. I grew up in a divorced middle-class home with a parent with mental illness. The strongest emotion I remember from childhood is feeling so lonely. I thought to myself many times that if anyone in my life had taken the time to sit down with me and ask me what was going on, that moment of interest would have been invaluable to me.
Schwartz is an innovative and committed teacher, but she also helped us uncover an important truth: Kids are always ready to open up. They're just waiting for us to ask.