‘I wish my teacher knew…’
Soman Chainani, author of the wildly popular The School for Good and Evil series of childrens books, attributes his success to the belief that one must “meet children where they are. Not where you think they should be.” For teachers, knowing what’s happening in their students’ lives is necessary for understanding their development. But quite often children and their parents aren’t forthcoming about their personal lives. This can make it nearly impossible for teachers to accurately assess their students’ needs or the underlying issues motivating their behavior.
To better understand the deeper issues her students were facing both at home and in their psyches, Kyle Schwartz of Doull Elementary School in Denver, Colorado gave them a simple task. She asked them to complete the sentence, “I wish my teacher knew.” What she learned about her students was so impactful that she collected their responses and created a book entitled, “I Wish My Teacher Knew: How One Question Can Change Everything For Our Kids.” Here are some of the responses that she printed in her book.
“I wish my teacher knew that my family and I life in a shelter.”
“I wish my teacher knew I love my family.”
“I wish my teacher knew that my dad works two jobs and I don’t see him much.”
“I wish my teacher knew that my mom might get diagnosed with cancer this week and I’ve been without a home three different times this year alone.”
Schwartz book also inspired #iwishmyteacherknew on social media.
#IWishMyTeacherKnew I contemplated suicide every week because I wasn't able to live up to expectations.— Sam (@Sam)1472830575.0
No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship. #iwishmyteacherknew #cbcsd— Robert Tellgren (@Robert Tellgren)1470371953.0
#Iwishmyteacherknew https://t.co/FioWNhcwGr— Maria Pujol (@Maria Pujol)1466174662.0
@OrganicLeaderVB @WoodstockESVB @B4wdfocused @BeachSupe #iwishmyteacherknew https://t.co/1pkTbwqdxE— Theresa Holloran 🍇🌟🌊 (@Theresa Holloran 🍇🌟🌊)1463742448.0
#IWishMyTeacherKnew school literally stresses me out to the point that waking up during the week makes me physically sick— Iris Augustadt (@Iris Augustadt)1461974786.0