DENVER - A teacher at Denver Public Schools wanted to find a way to better understand her students, and the result, shared on Twitter, is both heart-wrenching and moving.
Kyle Schwartz teaches at Doull Elementary in Denver's Harvey Park neighborhood.
Doull's students are primarily Hispanic, with about 90 percent receiving free or reduced lunch programs through DPS.
A few weeks ago, Schwartz began tweeting about the project, calling it a "reality check."
"They just let me have it. They told me exactly what they thought I should know," she said. "When students feel like they have a voice, that they're heard, they're really more open. They're more able to take risks in school."
She said she's not sure what inspired her to come up with the question.
"I think it comes from how teachers have conversations all the time about how we can best serve our students," Schwartz said. "We have 70 percent of kids in Denver live in poverty, and I don't think that every Denverite knows that. And I think it's so important that we know that because it's unacceptable."
"Once people realize the realities of it. That I don't have pencils at home. That sometimes they don't feel secure at home. That this child poverty is affecting these kids in real ways. Once they realize it, then we can steps towards changing it," she added
"I wish my teacher knew" has already inspired others to try something similar.
"I got a note from a social worker, and she was so touched by this, but she also felt it was applicable to her," Schwartz said. "She's going to have kids that, unfortunately, she's going to have place in foster care. She's going to have them write 'I wish my foster parent knew.' And for that, I'm so glad we're giving kids a voice, because they need it."
See for yourself some of the heart-wrenching, candid things Schwartz's elementary school students wanted to share with her.
Some responses reflected the demographic of the school and the everyday struggles of her young students.
Others, were entirely heartbreaking and honest.
Of course, it's important to remember these were still elementary schoolkids writing these....
Kids who, it turns out, really love learning.
And plan to pursue education well beyond the halls of their elementary school. Downright inspiring.
Schwartz, a Colorado native, worked in schools in Washington, D.C. and Chile before coming to Doull Elementary. She has a graduate degree from the University of Denver.
"I definitely feel like I have a better understanding of who my kids are, and especially the challenges they face," she said. "To have just that simple level of empathy for our children, for our students, I think really has blossomed inside of my classroom."
Her school biography says she loves teaching students how to write poetry.
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