A simple one-sentence writing assignment set by third grade teacher Kyle Schwartz revealed the heartbreaking realities faced by her young students. Kyle, a Denver, Colorado Public Schools “Distinguished Teacher”, shares what she has learned from her students and offers educators ideas and strategies towards supporting their students academically and emotionally.
Elementary School Teacher
The driving force in Kyle Schwartz’ career has been to ensure that all children receive a quality education. Kyle is currently a third grade teacher at Doull Elementary School in Denver, Colorado where approximately 90% of the students live below or very near the poverty line and about half are learning English at school.
She has previously worked with educational organizations such as City Year, the Denver Teacher Residency, American Achieves and
TeachStrong. Designated a “Distinguished Teacher” by Denver Public Schools, Kyle has transformed a simple yet powerful classroom writing lesson into a national dialogue about the troubling realities American students face on a daily basis. Her book “I Wish My Teacher Knew: How One Question Can Change Everything for our Kids” offers teachers guidance towards providing the educational opportunities, loving support and guidance that all students need and deserve.
This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx
I wish my teacher knew I have anxiety and every time she says “I’m gonna pull a stick and if I call on you, you better have a answer.” That gives me even more anxiety, it makes me scared she will pull out the stick with my number on it. And if she calls on me I just sit there not knowing the answer yet..
I wish my teacher knew it’s hard for me to go to sleep.
I wish my teacher knew I feel alone. (I have friends but still.)
I wish my teacher knew I sometimes fake a smile but I really feel dead inside.
I wish my teacher knew when she asks me “Are you ok?” I lie, I say “Yes, I’m fine.” But really I’m not.
I still love my teacher though.
I wish my teachers knew that anxiety is an actual thing that students can have no matter the age. I wish my teachers knew the pressure that my family and society puts on me because I’m considered “smart” and to make matters worse I’m Asian so I’m expected to make amazing grades
I wish my teacher knew that I’m getting bullied in her class.
I wish my teacher knew that I have wanted to kill myself since I was in 5th grade because I had no friends and my parents didn’t care
I wish that my teacher knew that my parents had been pressuring me to get a degree, start a family, and be a surgeon because they know my brother won’t be successful
I wish my teacher knew that I didn’t have many friends or even friends at all because I can’t trust them and because I will cut people off not to be a burden
I wish my teacher knew that I may get straight A's, and am polite, and have a group of good friends , but I'm not perfect. I struggle with depression and sometimes I have to put everything in me into copying down the notes on the board and not breaking down into tears. I wish my teacher knew that I used to cut. I wish my teacher knew that I may love learning but there are other things in life that I care more about then finishing the math packet. I have to help my brother, who has autism, ADHD, and learning disabilities. I wish my teacher knew that I don't have the time to get the 8 hours of sleep, do my homework, stay socially active, and take care of myself. I put everything in my life above my happiness and I'm starting to want to give up.
I want to talk to people that disliked this. They obviously don't know what depression, anxiety and addiction to self harm feels like. I want to explain it to them and see how they react. If they wouldn't understand i.. idk what i would do or say to them. My teacher once told me that a mother of one of her students came up to her once begging for a higher grade for her daughter and said: "Oh come on, she's pretty, she'll marry a rich guy". My teacher was obviously shocked. I was also dissapointed as well as my whole class when she told us that
I am looking the comments and I realized I am the only one that:
HAS HIGH SELF ESTEEM
DOESN'T HAVE ANY DISEASES/MENTAL HEALTH CONDITION
I didn't want to offend anyone, but wth why is everyone so depressed
I wish my teacher knew that I want to do well in school, but I don’t know how. I don’t understand the material and if I did I’d work so much harder and so much better.
I wish my teacher knew that I have insomnia, and that it’s so hard for me to sleep at night. I can’t focus on the lesson because I can only think about how tired I am.
I wish my teacher knew that I’m worried about losing my friends, because I feel like they’re the only people that get me. I only have 3 friends, and I’m constantly afraid that one day they’ll leave me because I’m not as smart as them.
I wish my teacher knew that I want to go to school to study fashion. I know that it seems like it’s just some little girls dream or whatever, but it’s a passion of mine and I love it more than anything else.
I wish my teacher knew how I feel.
I wish my school would stop persecuting me and stop trying to find things to exclude me for. I wish my school would stop humiluating me and stop talking down to me. I wish my school treated me like everybody else, and stop making me miss my lessons.
I wish my teachers had known that my disorder is not an excuse.
I wish my teachers had cared to learn my name (to write and pronounce).
I wish my teachers had known how many hours of sleep I had that night (2 if I was lucky).
I wish my teachers had known how much I enjoy learning.
Everytime i watch this video i always leave a new comment,
I just really wish my teachers knew how toxic and horrible of a society school is. Getting just one bad grade can send kids into a horrible depression. We check our grades hourly and use them as a base of self worth. Bad grades mean you are a bad student and that you are therefore worthless and a horrible person. I dont think any teacher realises that when you hand a child a 45, 50, 60 on a paper they will be absolutely Devastated for days if not weeks. They just assume you are a lazy person who doesnt care about school. But little do they know that you might have much more important issues going on at home than worrying about a math test. I used to love art, but the moment just middleschool started i havent had any time to draw one thing. I cant even remember how to draw anything. All because i have to spend hours writing pointless essays and always getting bad grades. Not once have i ever gotten a good grade in my english class on any writing assignment. I need help with writing okay? Not reading. But no, i get put in the regular english class away from all of my friends who attend the honors classes and are given challenging books that they may actually enjoy. Instead I sit and feel dissapointed in myself while i read 150 page books with simple topics that I am capable of reading in just an hour without being challenged. On top of that it seems all of my friends were able to skip an entire math grade level just because they recieved 10 more points on a test than me. I got a 61, it was a test on the next grade levels material. My friends all made the cutoff at 73 and above and ALWAYS talk about the challenging material they are learning about in class. Back when i was in just fifth grade i found out that i hadn’t made it into the higher level band, english, and math classes. I felt worthless. I was behind all of my friends and the worst part was i was in a fine spot already doing fine even in the honors math class. But average isnt good enough in the toxic land of middle school. I felt that I needed to be able to skip grades to be smart. In the end now that im older guess what? Nothing has cleared up. Thanks school always been such a help.
I wish my teacher new that I’ve gotten to the point where if I get a 89.99 percent a (B) on my report card I’d go into even more of a depression because school is the only thing I put my energy in. School is the only thing I do because I don’t deserve better.
i wish my teacher knew what it’s like to be in my shoes
i wish my teacher new that my mom works 12 hour days
i wish my teacher knew i have sleep issues
i wish my teacher knew my uncle has stage four lung cancer
i wish my teacher knew that my friends are rude to me and make me feel bad about myself
i wish my teacher knew i’m not that confidant
i wish my teacher knew how bad social media is for teens
i wish my teacher knew i get scared easily
i wish my teacher didn’t yell at me when i forgot things in my locker
i wish my teacher knew i want to die
i wish my teacher knew, i’m not happy.
I wish my teachers knew that I learn differently than the others.
I wish my teachers knew that I have crippling anxiety.
I wish my teachers knew that I'm on edge at every moment because I can't go through another shooting at school.
I wish my teachers knew that my dream of being on Broadway isn't impossible, and that it's very real.
I wish my teachers knew that I can't stay still for 45 minutes.
I wish my teachers knew that over 40% of the kids that came from my elementary school are homeless.
I wish my teachers knew that I don't stay up late watching TV or on my phone, I'm staring at a dark ceiling for 3 hours because I can't physically sleep.
I wish my teachers knew that we're a bunch of 12-15 year olds and we're not focused on drugs, we're trying to pass middle school while balancing a home life and an over-crowded social life- or and under-crowded one, at that.
I wish my teachers knew that I'm tired of being silent.
I wish my teacher knew that a lot of my friends are depressed and have anxiety
I wish my teacher knew that I have insomnia
I wish my teacher knew that homework is slowly getting harder and harder for me to do (I've always considered myself really smart and now my homework is even taking all hours of the day to get done because I don't understand it anymore)
I wish my teacher knew that my self-esteem is decaying fast and I don't feel good about myself anymore
I wish my teacher knew that I care about them and feel bad for them when students treat them like an object
I wish my teacher knew that I love to read
I wish my teacher knew that I shouldn't get in trouble for reading when all my assignments are done
I wish my teacher knew that the more I think about it, the less I understand the point of being alive
I wish my teacher knew that bullying is not just physical
I wish my teacher knew that going through elementary school, every year I would get different, new friends because my old ones didn't want to be my friends anymore
I wish my teacher knew that I'm afraid of committing to anyone and anything
I wish my teacher knew that I don't trust adults
I wish my teacher knew how gullibly I trust my peers
I wish my teacher knew how much I wish they knew
I wish my teacher knew I am insecure, introvert, indecisive, sensitive and have low self esteem.
I wish my teacher knew i overthink, stress, and pressure myself a lot.
I wish my teacher knew though i push people away, I really want someone to be there for me.
I wish my teacher knew I just pretend to be good, but I don't actually want to.
I wish my teachers knew I am arachnophobic.
I wish my teachers knew I struggle with anxiety.
I wish my teachers knew I am a girl with short hair.
I wish my teachers knew I have learning requirements that must be met.
I wish my teachers and classmates knew I am not transgender.
I wish my teachers knew I struggle with social anxiety.
I wish my teachers knew I am glossophobic.
I wish my teachers knew what insomnia is like.
Whenever I tried to finish my late work in middle school, I had trouble focusing on it. I would even try to walk myself through the steps in my head, but even then it felt like trying to lead on a mule who was digging it's hooves into the dirt. I daydreamed a lot and doodled in class, sometimes dedicating whole pages in the back of my notebooks to my drawings. I got so stressed from trying to get work done, I ended up crying, and stopped staying after school. Eventually, due to my grades and difficulty with paying attention, they had me do a few tests and I was diagnosed with Asperger's. I'm not in public school anymore, and I'm still trying to find out what method of education would be best for me. I guess time will tell.
Since I am in high school, I have 7 teachers throughout the day. Here's what I wish all of them knew.
I wish my teacher knew that when I don't raise my hand, it's not that I don't know the answer, nor that I don't want to participate, it's that I have bad anxiety about speaking in front of others.
I wish my teacher knew that when he calls me Miss, it makes me want to curl up into a ball and cry for hours.
I wish my teacher knew that that one day he caught me crying was the day the school found out about something dramatic that had just happened in my life. Something I still haven't gotten over, nor will I ever get over it.
I wish my teacher knew that when I don't turn in my project, it's because I'm not proud of it and I think you'll hate it, and in response, hate me.
I wish my teacher knew that her classroom is my safe-space. I can be my nerdy self while learning about one of my favorite subjects. She's taught me that there are people who truly care by doing the smallest things.
I wish my teacher knew that we're all trying our best in that class, and that I do feel bad for her; she has to deal with a group of rowdy entitled 9th graders, but that's no excuse for being sexist.
I wish my teacher knew I needed help. I'm just too shy to ask. I'd sooner flunk her class than stay after the bell rang.
I wish my teacher knew that I am always scared because of my abusive aunt. I don't live with her, I just visited her and she seemed like a threat so instinctively, I acted scared and got angry quickly at the presence of her.
I wish my teacher knew I would be screaming in my head if he/she asked me a question.
I wish my teacher cared about my mental health more than my mental maths.
I wish my teacher knew that I dont wanna answer these questions.
I wish my teacher knew that im depressed.
I wish my teacher knew that im at am all time low.
I wish my teacher knew that im a decent person just sucked into a vacuum called fear.
I wish my teacher knew that I'm not okay even when I say I am.
I wish they knew that I'm not good enough.
I wish they knew why I don't finish the corrections on my paper.
I wish they knew I'm on the verge of giving up.
I wish my teacher knew that I can't seek help from others about my various mental health issues because of my anxiety, and me not feeling like I mean enough.
I wish my teacher new that I don't like her giving us colour by numbers because I am 13.
I wish my teacher new that RE is boring because she makes us play with play dough and draw a pretty picture about god every.single.lesson. (Repeat, I am in a class of 13/14 year olds)
I wish my teacher new what her 'favourites' are really like -_-
I wish my teacher new that she should change her teaching style because ever since she came everyone's grades have dropped like 30%
I wish my teacher new how busy I was afterschool so they wouldn't have to load us up with so much homework
I wish my teacher knew that a lot of students try their best to care.
I wish my teacher knew that, no matter how well I do on an assignment, I know I could've done better.
I wish my teacher knew that I care about what she thinks about me.
I wish my teacher knew that just because I don't struggle with the assignment instructions and outline doesn't mean I don't struggle with the idea of completing and succeeding at the assignment
I would just like to point out that all these comments are beautiful. The message in each in every comment is powerful, and spoken so vividly. Some of these comments I relate entirely. Know that your not alone and you can get through this. “You we’re giving this life because you are strong enough to live it.” Goodbye, YouTube! ❤️
I wish my teacher knew that homework makes me feel like I can’t do anything right. I wish my teacher knew that when they put more homework/ work it makes me panic. I wish my teacher knew that my parents push me to be the smart good example of a child, but it’s hard work I can’t do. I wish my teacher knew that I panic in test. I wish my teacher knew that I can’t sleep at night because of school. I wish my teacher knew I would rather be dead, than be in school with teachers that don’t care about the kids.
I wish my teacher knew that my friends cause drama and bring me into it.
I wish my teacher knew that those cuts that ran down my legs, yea they weren't from rugby.
I wish my teacher knew how much it means to me if a person i barely ever see remember my name.
I wish my teacher knew that I love my best friend and i don't know what to do because i want to tell her but i don't want our friendship to end.
I wish my teacher knew that yelling in my face when I have a migraine isn't going to help... I wish my teacher knew I have 3 cysts on my brain... I wish my teacher knew I have high anxiety and suicidal thoughts...
When my parents went to meet my teachers they said they have never in their life seen someone as quiet as me. And that I need to speak up, ask more questions and make friends. So basically....I wish my teachers knew I don’t speak in class or have any friends because I have social anxiety and extremely low self esteem.
I wish my teacher knew how much she affects my social and mental/emotional health. How much she tiers me to the point of so much mental exhaustion that I can’t function properly. How much she makes me hate school and everything about it. How she makes my almost fully gone anxiety spark up again and my depression as well. How weak and unloved she makes me feel. How she makes me think of things I never wanted to think about. How she is affecting my home life and my relationships. How much she damages my life.
Some teachers just never understand how much is too much, and it leads to burn outs. Because of this teacher I’ve been sick for three months. Because of this teacher, I get so anxious that I get so close to passing out. She makes me not want to learn. I’m not living because of her, I don’t have a life. I’m forced to survive and hold back my frustration. I’m an entirely different person before and after her class. I just wish I didn’t have this source of such negative energy in my life.
I’m so tired of it.
I wish my teacher knew how much I want to quit school. I wishy teacher knew that I'm not rude, I'm just honest. I wish my teacher knew I have depression. I with my teacher knew that I have anxiety. I wish my teacher knew my classmates are snakes. I wish my teacher knew how much I hate homework, yet I try so hard to get it right. I wish my teacher knew I have life problems and insecurities of my own. I wish my teacher knew my friends are fake. I wish my teacher knew why I "almost" fall asleep in class. I wish my teacher knew how much I "like being alone." I wish my teacher knew how much I hate my classmates. I wish my teacher knew I'm not perfect. I wish my teacher knew why I don't like living. I wish my teacher knew how I dread going to school everyday. I wish my teacher knew that I wish I was "perfect", "the perfect image". I wish my teacher knew that I have insomnia. I wish my teacher knew I have glossophobia. I wish my teacher knew I have introvert. I wish my teacher knew that sometimes my mind wanders into dark places. I wish my teacher knew that I think about my own death because of depression. I wish my teacher knew I'm not okay...
I wish my teacher knew that I'm not slacking out. I just need help.I wish my teacher knew that I'm only happy because I don't wanna see other people sad and alone.I wish my teacher knew that no matter how many times I trip and fall and be the klutzy girl I am, it's only because I stood alone and unbalanced in my childhood............I wish my teacher knew that even though she teaches me new things every day, I don't understand how this is gonna help me survive in this world full of cults. -___-
I wish my teachers knew I have social anxiety. I wish that the teachers Who do care knew without me telling them, because I don’t know how to. I wish they knew how bad it can get. That my good grades don’t mean I have a perfect life and that I STILL worry about my grades. I wish they knew how alone I feel at times, even if I know my friends are there for me. I wish my teachers knew how much I hate myself and that I don’t get things done, because I have anxiety attacks when I have too much stress, but I still finish my assignments, I still study for tests. I wish my teachers knew that every single times someone judges me, whatever the reason, I don’t know what to do. I wish they knew that When I look exhausted in class, I’m just trying to hold back everything and push it down and try to smile.
Me - I’m soooo tired
Teacher - than go to bed earlier
Me - Sorry, I cant. Because I have to stay up all night doing the homework that you gave me. And before you say “you had time” , I have a life. My life doesn’t revolve around how to calculate the area of a triangle
I wish my teacher knew I hide behind a fake mask
I wish my teacher knew just being in a class of 24 people scares me to death
I wish my teacher knew I don't revise for exams because I enjoy to torture myself
I wish my teacher knew I can't do school life anymore
I wish my teacher knew I had no friends and my mom lost our house and her boyfriend was beating her up and was verbally and emotionally abusive to me. I wish my teacher knew that I just wanted a friend and to die.
Child marriages are common:
On a recent day, eight community elders sat in a [refugee] camp, some chewing khat, the narcotic leaf favored by most Yemeni men. Seven have married off their girls this year.
Even Salim, the elder who worked at the charity, is preparing to marry off his two daughters, ages 13 and 14. "I want to feel secure of their futures, if only for economic reasons," he said.
Mohammad Ali al-Ansi married off his two girls, ages 13 and 14, in April. "My heart is bleeding inside, but I was forced to do this," he said. "I have no job. Its difficult for me to feed my 10 children." He received $1,600 in dowry for each of his girls, he said. But after paying for their weddings and meeting other debts, the money has nearly run out. "If things get worse, theres no doubt Ill marry off my 12-year-old daughter," Ansi said.
More on Ansis 14-year-old daughter Fatma, married to 21-year-old Zaid:
Fatma spent her day cooking and washing clothes for her in-laws. When asked the name of her husbands family, Fatma didnt know it. She remembers her father telling her and her sister, Amal, that the family needed money. She remembers that Amal was in tears because her new husband was taking her to another region. The two sisters have not seen each other since their weddings.
"I am too young to be married," Fatma said. "I want to study. I want to learn how to write. I have sacrificed for my family," she continued, her voice dropping to a whisper.
Minutes later, her husband arrived at the tent, and Fatma went silent. He said Fatma was "at a good age to marry." When asked if she could attend school, he shook his head no. "Shes a little too old for school," he said.
Female sexual freedom among the Tuareg : Flora Drury has written up the sex habits of the Saharas Muslim Tuareg people based on the work by Henrietta Butler. Some excerpts:
Their men became known as the blue men of the Sahara because the dye from their distinctive indigo scarves rub off onto their faces giving them a mysterious air. The Tuareg evoke images of a long forgotten and romantic age.