Young Teacher’s Unique Assignment Reveals Heartbreaking Truth About Her Kids’ Lives

By Cassandra Lewis for


Being a child is tough. As adults, it’s easy to look back on childhood with a powerful longing: The lack of responsibility, the freedom, the naps. It’s all very alluring through rose-tinted glasses.

But children face a world of worry and fear that we’ve long forgotten — and sometimes completely overlook. Young and unsure, children experience a depth of feeling  that they don’t know how to express, and therefore never voice.

But one teacher in Denver, CO, has given her young students the platform they’ve badly needed. With just one question and a brightly-colored index card, Kyle Schwartz has unearthed her third grade students’ deepest feelings — and some of their answers are heart-breaking.

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

And the children have greatly enjoyed sharing things about themselves: Though they were given the option to answer anonymously, most were happy to include their name.

“Even when what my students are sharing is sensitive in nature, most students want their classmates to know,” said Kyle.

Now, other teachers around the world are following in Kyle’s footsteps — and the answers they’re receiving are no less moving, proving that children all over need a listening ear.

Kyle has now published her first book, a collection of her students’ responses, entitled, “I Wish My Teacher Knew: How One Question Can Change Everything For Our Kids.”

Who knew that the prompt “I wish my teacher knew that…” would start such a fascinating conversation?

Read more here.

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