Kids hold onto a lot of things. We may look at them as innocent and naive, but oftentimes they know things or are struggling with issues that we can’t see just by looking at them.

When Kyle Schwartz began her job teaching third grade at a school in a low income area of Denver, Colorado, she knew that many of her students were probably dealing with a lot of things that they might not feel comfortable telling her face-to-face, so she came up with an idea that would make it easier for them to open up.

She told her students to finish the sentence, “I wish my teacher knew…” She wasn’t sure what kinds of responses she would get, but when she started looking through their answers many of them left her floored.

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Some of the answers were simple, like, “I wish my teacher knew that I like to draw,” but many of the answers got much deeper and more personal. Through the assignment she was able to learn about some of the more serious and hurtful issues her students were dealing with, like sick family members, missing parents, bullying, and poverty.

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“As a new teacher, I struggled to understand the reality of my students’ lives and how to best support them,” Kyle said. “I just felt like there was something I didn’t know about my students.”

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Through this project she has come to know her students on a much more personal level, which helps her as she seeks to push her students to succeed.

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The impact of the project was so great that Kyle has encouraged other teachers to do the same thing. She has also published a book that contains a collection of students’ responses to the question entitled, “I Wish My Teacher Knew: How One Question Can Change Everything For Our Kids.”

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It’s teachers like Kyle who truly love and care for their students who will help raise up a new generation of happy, healthy, and successful adults.

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Were you blown away by some of the answers the students gave? So share this!

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