When her Twitter post became a social media sensation, Kyle Schwartz realized that her classroom exercise asking students what they wished she, their teacher, knew about them was something other teachers and students needed in their classrooms. In her book, Schwartz explores what led her to performing the exercise with her class. She explains how it has changed her experience as a teacher. She breaks down her approach to building a community within her classroom and how important that is to supporting a successful learning environment.
The chapters also connect current research about trauma, grief, and poverty and their effects on children’s abilities to learn. With those things in mind, Schwartz relates her own experience. In the book she also shares stories from other teachers and students which address these issues.
I Wish My Teacher Knew is part an inspirational tale about how teachers matter and have an incredible opportunity to affect the lives of their students and part a gentle how-to resource for recreating a successful community environment to support both academic and personal growth for students.
As a parent, this book helped me understand that teachers have broader goals than simply instructing students on basic subjects like math, science, reading, and history. The importance of a classroom community makes sense to me now on a much deeper level. I’d kind of assumed that those community elements were more a happy accident than a carefully cultivated environment actually designed to support the students’ learning ability. It makes a lot of sense to address issues like trauma and grief because of the direct effect on a child’s ability to focus in the midst of those challenges. I simply never considered the purposeful way teachers implement these elements into their classrooms.
I’m so grateful for the men and women who’ve dedicated their lives to making these kinds of differences in their students’ lives. This book makes a great resource not only for teachers but for parents, too. There’s a lot more happening in classrooms than we realize. It’s important not to take those gifts for granted and to find ways to offer support.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.