The Reality of #iwishmyteacherknew Hits Home

Have you heard of the #iwishmyteacherknew hashtag? It's a powerful movement where kids and parents share something they wish their teacher or their children's teacher knew. Some of them include messages of love and appreciation to their teacher, while others express sad, behind-the-scenes family issues.

Teachers have such difficult jobs. They work long hours and are often underpaid. With 35 students in a classroom it is impossible for them to know everything about each child in their class. And I certainly don't want to criticize any specific teacher as I'm sure they have a #iwishmystudentsknew history of their own.

But I think about some of my own children's experiences with teachers, and a few #iwishmyteacherknew moments come to mind.

#iwishmyteacherknew that my son loved all of his teachers despite several of them being unkind and impatient with him. I remember one particular parent/teacher conference that I cried as they tried to tell me how difficult he was to work with and yet he was one of the top in the class. It seemed so confusing and so wrong somehow. And so it continued with some teachers absolutely loving him going so far as to name one of their firstborn children after him and others who seemed to barely tolerate him. He is the same child! How could some grow to love him so much and others seem utterly frustrated with him? I could NOT understand it.

This year he was chosen as the only boy from his class to receive an award for good citizenship and great academic achievement. As we've recently moved him into a new school with the move to our new home, I've watched him blossom as none of those former viewpoints followed him to this school. He could be what he's always been and the teacher saw him for who he truly is.

#iwishmyteacherknew how hard my son works to gain their approval and would be more patient and take more time to recognize his efforts.

#iwishmyteacherknew that the essay he recently assigned my daughter could not come at a worse time. My daughter missed school last Tuesday for two reasons. 1) She was very sick and spent the day in bed, and 2) we were sticking close to home to mourn the passing of our son eight years ago. While she was gone her sociology class discussed death at great lengths. We were so grateful that she missed that discussion as many people talk about it, but few have experienced it. So often the conversation is callous and unkind without any thought that someone in the class may be missing a loved one.

To make up for the work missed, her teacher has assigned her the topic of the "Sociology of Death." Clearly he has no idea that she knows more about it than any teenager should. I wanted very much to email him to request a different topic for her as the pain is still quite fresh for all of us, but she is determined to complete the assignment. She is braver than I.

#iwishmyteacherknew that the assignment he thinks is so important is actually already learned on a level he might not appreciate and if he knew would he still require it?

Again, I think teachers have one of the hardest jobs on the planet and there is no way for teachers to know everything about a child. But I wonder if all of us approached our interactions with others with the thought that they might be dealing with something we might not see on the surface if we might be more kind, more forgiving, and more loving? I know I could do better. I know I NEED to do better.

#iwishmyteacherknew as well that I'm grateful for the time and effort they put into my children and that they have grown and blossomed in beautiful ways because of teachers that took the time to encourage and support them. Thank you to those teachers!

What do you wish your teacher knew? Is there something behind your child's behavior that might make a difference in the classroom? Is there something you love about a teacher that you wish he or she knew? Have you taken the time to tell them?



  1. I agree! It's the same with my son, just not top of the class, as he struggles sometimes. And I believe that if a teacher doesn't like him or if their personalities clash, he struggles more so.

    I do let a teacher know when she has made a difference for my son, I think by doing so, they know that their hard work is noticed :)

    Wishing your daughter peace as she works on her assignment.

    1. Thanks, Carolyn! It's so hard to watch your child struggle.


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