#IWishMyTeacherKnew: One Teacher's Quest to Get to Know Her Students For Real
Many believe that a teacher's first job is to educate children according to curriculum standards, to make sure that they pass tests and turn in assignments. Some would argue that a teacher's first, and most important job, is to advocate for her students, to nurture them and provide them with a safe space, to be there for them eight hours a day as a confidant and role model.
Last year, Kyle Schwartz, an elementary teacher from Denver, gave her students an opportunity to use their voices by creating a note-writing activity in her classroom, which she turned into a series on Twitter under the hashtag #IWishMyTeacherKnew. Since then, the hashtag has taken the Internet by storm and teachers all over the world are participating in Schwartz's exercise with their own students.
The third grade teacher told ABC News last April, "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." She started the activity as a way to build trust and get to know her students on another level, giving them the opportunity to submit the notes anonymously if they wanted to. However, she found that most students were willing to sign their names to the vulnerable messages, and some even read them out loud in front of their classmates.
Schwartz's hope that this series would not only inspire other teachers to get to know their students and build trustworthy classroom communities, but to help students and their families get connected with the resources they may need at home, has been slowly coming to frution as more and more teachers take to Twitter with their students' notes.
Read on for more of the notes Schwartz's students — and students all over the world — have written: