Kyle Schwartz is a third grade teacher at Doull Elementary in Denver, Colorado. Doull Elementary has a strong community and the school faces challenges. At Doull, about 90% of students live below or very near to the poverty line and about half are learning English at school. As a young adult, she worked at the education nonprofit City Year in Washington D.C., where she painted murals, scrubbed off graffiti, and served food to the homeless.
She is the author of the book: I Wish My Teacher Knew.
Below is the full text of her TEDx Talk titled “What kids wish their teachers knew” at TEDxKyoto conference.
One evening, after a long day of teaching eight-year-olds at my Denver elementary school, I found a crumpled orange piece of paper in my kitchen.
And as I unfolded it, I noticed that it was a note that a student had written to me.
And as I read the shaky handwriting, I felt the same twinge of pain as the first time I had read those words.
The note said, “I wish my teacher knew I don’t have pencils at home to do my homework.”
Now that student, she’d written those words to me in response to a lesson I’d been doing in my classroom where I asked students a question and I invited them to respond.
But I’ve been doing this for years in my classroom and never told anyone. But this time, when I saw those words, I saw something worth sharing.