Building resilience
and mental wellbeing for children and young people

I wish my teacher knew...

"I wish my teacher knew..." provides an opportunity for children or young people in schools to tell you anything, however big or small, which they would like you to know about them. Famously shared by Kyle Scwartz, a teacher in America, (Ted Talk 13 mins) the results of asking her class the question 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. The exercise brought attention to student needs often hidden beneath the surface.

Kyle Schwartz has written about "I wish my teacher knew..." - which provides a more in-depth and nuanced introduction to using "I wish my teacher knew..." I Wish My Teacher Knew: How One Question Can Change Everything for Our Kids by Kyle Schwartz 

"I save “I Wish My Teacher Knew” for times I notice students uniquely struggling in areas like motivation, relationships, following directions, or focus. When the hustle and bustle of teaching distracts me from the fact that the nine-year-olds in front of me have lives, responsibilities, and emotional experiences beyond the academic learning objectives I place before them, I know it is time to bring out “I Wish My Teacher Knew.” For me, it brings humanity back to the students in my classroom community at times when I am preoccupied with the checklists of school tasks to be accomplished. “I Wish My Teacher Knew” is my ever-relevant reminder that all behavior is communication and, when times get tough, students are trying to tell me something deeper than even my sharp teacher eyes can see". (from an article by Sylvia Denice)

Here is a thoughtful article asking us to pause and think about possible unintended consequences of asking the question and things to think about before undertaking "I wish my teacher knew..." 


Page last updated: 7 November 2021

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