One day, third-grade teacher Kyle Schwartz asked her students to fill–in–the–blank in this sentence: “I wish my teacher knew _____.” The results astounded her. Some answers were humorous, others were heartbreaking–all were profoundly moving and enlightening. The results opened her eyes to the need for educators to understand the unique realities their students face in order to create an open, safe and supportive place in the classroom. When Schwartz shared her experience online, #IWishMyTeacherKnew became an immediate worldwide viral phenomenon. Schwartz’s book tells the story of #IWishMyTeacherKnew, including many students’ emotional and insightful responses, and ultimately provides an invaluable guide for teachers, parents, and communities.
As a proud aunt of a vivacious almost 4 year old girl, I know how unexpected each day is and how surprising can be kids, so I when I saw the opportunity of reading the kids’ answers to such a brilliant question I couldn’t resist the request button and prepared myself to be amazed and to shed some tears.
Reading some of the answers broke my heart.
Others made me smile. Specially the little kid that loved Nachos. I hear you kid, I hear you.
What I wasn’t expecting was the amount of research behind it. Or the wake up call. This books shows us the reality of schools all over America, why some behaviors are wrongly looked at, and what the teachers and all personal involved in children education must look for. And also that sometimes we need to think before act. Because good intentions are not enough. And doing a good action without thinking all variables that can exist may do more harm than good.
Who should read this book?
Well, my first answer would be ANYBODY. Which will be the ideal good answer but it would also be very wrong. Why? Because it is focused on schools. How to deal with kids and learn how to really look behind the barriers that kids learn to project.
Parents know their reality, they don’t need to look at their children and translate that their lack of attention is caused by hunger, or that they can’t afford pencils to do their homework. They already know that.
Now, teachers, educators, school nurses are another matter. They need to learn how to deal with children, how to build community, how to teach children to be children and to grow into responsible adults that will know how to face adversity and conquer it. And for those, this book is a must read. The experiences related, the answers and the questions are a powerful tool that needs to be read, shared and applied. Ignoring this book is ignoring what children wish their teacher knew.