Kyle Schwartz, a third grade teacher from Denver, Colorado, cracked the code and unlocked the secret stories of her students’ lives. 92% of the pupils at Doull Elementary School rely on a subsidized lunch program, just one sign of the hardships they face. But Schwartz discovered that no money for lunch was the least of these children’s problems: many struggled with the lack of a parent at home, bullying, and stress about their marks.


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Schwartz asked her students to answer the question, “What do you wish your teacher knew?” and to submit their notes anonymously. What they wrote will surprise you.

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Kyle Schwartz teaches students from lower income families in Denver, Colorado

She wanted to better understand them, so she asked a simple question: “What do you wish your teacher knew?”

The students’ anonymous responses were overwhelming

92% of the pupils at Doull Elementary School rely on a subsidized lunch program

Many have problems at home that they had never shared before

Their issues were big and small, from a lack of pencils to a missing parent

From a birthday that everyone at school forgot to a sick mother in the hospital

They wrote what every teacher wished she knew.