A Colorado teacher has garnered national attention for a creative class assignment she’s shared with the world. According to ABC News, Kyle Schwartz, a third grade teacher at Doull Elementary in Denver, has a deep desire to truly connect with her students.
Other than interacting with them in class on a daily basis, she really doesn’t know very much about their personal lives. However, there is one aspect of their lives she is aware — most of them come from impoverished homes.
“Ninety-two percent of our students qualify for free and reduced lunch,” Schwartz revealed to ABC News. “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.”
So, in an effort to learn more about their lives, she decided to try a simple exercise to break down the personal barriers. The assignment titled, “I Wish My Teacher Knew,” allowed the children to write down small things about their life that they wish she was aware of.
To make them feel comfortable expressing their feelings and concerns, she also insisted that they could remain nameless if they desired. Although she expected unique responses, she definitely wasn’t prepared for some of the wishes she received. Schwartz describes some of the notes as “heartbreaking.”
“Some notes are heartbreaking like the first #iwishmyteacherknew tweet which read, ‘I wish my teacher knew I don’t have pencils at home to do my homework.’ I care deeply about each and every one of my students and I don’t want any of them to have to suffer the consequences of living in poverty, which is my main motivation for teaching.”
She was so moved by the third graders’ notes, she decided to share them via Twitter under the hashtag #iwishmyteacherknew. Now, the notes have gone viral. During an interview with the Denver Channel, Schwartz shared her reaction to the overwhelming response the notes received from thousands of Twitter users. Needless to say, she was quite shocked.
“I think it caught on so fast because teachers are highly collaborative and freely share and explore resources,” Schwartz said. “In the end, all teachers want to support their students, and #iwishmyteacherknew is a simple and powerful way to do that.
[Image(s) via Twitter]