“Something I Wish My Teacher Knew About Me”

We were encouraged to ask students a simple question: “Something I wish my teacher knew about me is…”

I shared with my students a Google Form with this prompt one morning. I didn’t say much about it. I just let them know they could reply with anything they’d like. As long as it was appropriate, of course.

We had just finished reading Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco. We had a tough conversation about race relations and social dynamics. With fourth-grade, you never know what you’re going to get. Some kids snoozed the conversation. Others distracted themselves with whatever their hands could reach. A few listened. Even less participated. I sat nervous. Weary of what the kids who were engaged would say.

Given virtual learning, it’s nerve wracking to know parents are so close. Listening in every now and again. It keeps you on your toes. One girl said, “I’m not trying to be racist, but…” What a start.

Anyway, we had just finished this conversation. No scars or bruises from what I could tell. I sent out the Google Form. Waited a few minutes and began to look through the responses.

“I wish my teacher would know that Halloween is gonna get cancelled.”

“I wish my teacher knew that I skateboard.”

“I wish my teacher knew that if you come to my house, my dog will bark if you ring the doorbell. Just call on the phone and our address is…” and proceeded to give me his address.” Not sure if he actually expects me to show up.

Anyways. I’m not sure I’m supposed to have a favorite, but I did:

“I want to my teacher noticed that black people and white people need to be respect each other.”

The grammar and conventions were all off, but the point was crystal clear.

This student hadn’t spoken up much during the discussion, but it put a smile on my face knowing he had listened and had had this take away.

To me, that’s a universal truth. Black, white, all people should respect one another and receive that respect in turn.

It makes me nervous that in our current climate, I’m not certain whether or not I can teach my students that message.

It makes me sad, that I have to worry about parents getting upset that I’ve taught their child about a human being’s worth and value. That we ALL have worth and value.

I’m trying my best to be the best teacher I can be, but it often feels like the very people that want my students educated (their parents), are doing everything they can to keep me from doing my job.