A few weeks a ago, I came across this article on CNN from Kyle Schwartz, a 3rd grade teacher in Denver, who gave an assignment to her students to complete the sentence “I wish my teacher knew…”

The responses she received were overwhelming–some sad, some exciting, some funny–but all and all, they told Kyle things that she never knew about her students. 

This story inspired us to do a similar project with our families. We asked our staff and volunteers to ask some of the children we have worked with most of their lives “what do you wish your teachers knew about you?”

Here are some of the responses we got:

S.D. (21 years old): “I wish my teachers knew my mom was disabled and that we were from a low socioeconomic level. I wish my teachers knew that I wanted someone to tell me not to watch so much TV…I wish my teachers knew that I lied when I told them my dad hit my mom and then social services got involved…I wish my teacher in 3rd grade would not have judged my mom so hard when I wore lipstick to school because my mom was just trying to raise my self-esteem.”

N.D. (18 years old): ” I wish my teachers know how difficult to have a mother who won’t listen to me…I wish you knew how hard it is to grow up without a dad.”

V.L. (10 years old): “I wish Gabby (our intern who mentors Valerie) knew that in the future I want to have a big house and a Quinceañera and when my mom dies she can watch over me as a friend.”

L.M. (11 years old): “I wish my teacher knew that sometimes it’s hard for me to focus because how my siblings and mom are disabled. I have to take care of my mom which makes it hard for me to do my homework. I also have to take care of my brother and sister because of their disabilities…all this puts me under stress and that causes my headaches…It is hard but I know my mom loves me and tries to help me.” 

A.S. (20 year old): “Growing up I wanted people to know how hard it was to learn everything on my own because of my disabled parents, not only did I have to do school work mostly on my own, but I also had to learn about life without having my mom be able to explain anything to me .”  

R.H. (8 year old): “I wish my teacher knew that sometimes she is mean and rude to tell us to do something.”

B.G. (9 year old): “I wish my teacher knew that I am sometimes sad and recess and lunch.” 

Some of the responses are just heartbreaking.

We have worked with some of our families for many years and watched some of the children grow to adults since they before they were born. This project gave us an opportunity to reached out to their hearts to try to understand their struggles and how they have come a long way to become who they are now.

If you are interested in becoming a mentor please contact us for volunteer opportunities and other ways you may be able to help.