The Short of It
In an effort to understand the struggles her third grade students face, a Colorado teacher turned an assignment into a movement online, #IWishMyTeacherKnew, that has inspired and moved many.
It all started when Kyle Schwartz, a third grade teacher in Denver, put together a new lesson plan called, "I Wish My Teacher Knew." She hoped to gain insight into how to reach her young pupils.
"Ninety-two percent of our students qualify for free and reduced lunch. 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," Schwartz told ABC News.
For the assignment, kids were asked to share something they wanted their teacher to know about them. Kids could determine whether or not to sign their names. The results were heartbreaking.
One child confessed to not having anyone to play with at recess. Another student admitted to not having pencils at home to do homework. And another child was missing a dad who was deported to Mexico.
Yet another note read, "I wish my teacher knew my reading log is not signed because my mom is not around a lot."
When Schwartz started sharing some of the notes anonymously on Twitter using the hashtag #IWishMyTeacherKnew, her idea quickly gained momentum. She hopes the project will help families get the help they need to support their students.
Schwartz is already seeing positive results from her lesson: "After one student shared that she had no one to play with at recess, the rest of the class chimed in and said, 'we got your back.' The next day during recess, I noticed she was playing with a group of girls. Not only can I support my students, but my students can support each other."
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