Last week as I was scrolling through Twitter during breakfast, I saw a tweet that suggested asking students to write about something they wish their teacher knew. I don’t remember who the tweet was from, but like so many tweets and blog posts, it gave a germ of an idea to take into the classroom (talk about pd in your pjs!).
My students (grade 7/8) were intrigued by the idea, but had lots of questions beforehand. Could they write about what they wish all their teachers knew, or just me? Would I be looking at the responses, or was this something they could write and keep private? We established that they could write with any or all teachers in mind, and that sharing was optional. Writing began in earnest.
While the students were writing, I did as well. This is what I shared with them:
Something I wish my students knew is that I think about them all the time. I lie in bed at night worrying about their problems. When I’m on holidays and see something that I think one of them would find interesting, I say, “I wish ___ was here to see this! He/she would enjoy it.” I hear or read something, and I think, “I can’t wait to tell the kids!” My family knows my students’ names because of the stories I tell.
Sometimes, my students drive crazy, with whispering during reading, talking when I’m talking, or the clicking of Rubix Cubes. Sometimes, they make me so proud that I have tears in my eyes.
I wish my students knew that they’ve left footprints on my heart.
This was such a positive relationship building activity. This is the third year I’ve taught some of these students, and they still found it surprising that I think of them outside the classroom. They wanted details – when do I feel proud? What stories do I tell my family? They basked in the idea of being thought of beyond the school environment.
It was a good reminder to me to tell the people in my life why they’re important to me. It’s easy to assume that your students know you care about them. Saying it out loud makes them feel valued, and made me feel good.