Kyle Schwartz, a third grade teacher in Denver, created a viral sensation with her "I Wish My Teacher Knew" lesson plan. The #IWishMyTeacherKnew hashtag became a nationwide trending topic after she shared some of her students' answers on Twitter.
Schwartz is a teacher at Doull Elementary School in Denver, where many students are from underprivileged homes. She came up with “I Wish My Teacher Knew” to learn more about their lives.
"Ninety-two percent of our students qualify for free and reduced lunch," Schwartz told ABC News. "I struggled to understand the reality of my students' lives and how to best support them. I just felt like there was something I didn't know about my students."
Schwartz’s lesson plan asked her third graders write down something they'd like her to know about them. Students could choose to write anonymously, but most wanted to share them with the class, Schwartz said.
"I wish my teacher knew sometimes my reading log is not signed because my mom is not around a lot," reads one note.
"Some notes are heartbreaking," Schwartz told ABC News. "I care deeply about each and every one of my students and I don't want any of them to have to suffer the consequences of living in poverty, which is my main motivation for teaching."
Schwartz shared the notes on Twitter with the hashtag #IWishMyTeacherKnew, and soon tweets and notes from other schools were using the hashtag to share their own stories.
"I wish Mrs. King knew that I worry because my mom is getting sick a lot and was in the hospital last night," reads a note posted by Twitter user Dawn King.
"#IWishMyTeacherKnew that I greatly appreciate all of my past teachers," wrote Twitter user Jason Sparks. "With age, I can now see how under-appreciated the profession is."
"Teachers are highly collaborative and freely share and explore resources," Schwartz said. "In the end, all teachers want to support their students and #IWishMyTeacherKnew is a simple and powerful way to do that."