When US teacher Kyle Schwartz started teaching eight year olds, she was determined to get to know them properly. So one day, she asked all her students to write down on a piece of paper the one thing they wished she knew about them.
The results were surprising, heartbreaking and hilarious. "I wish my teacher knew that I don’t have pencils at home to do my homework," read one. "I wish my teacher knew that my family and I live in a shelter," read another.
After she shared her experience online, other teachers decided to embark on the exercise, with equally eye-opening results.
Since then Schwarz has created a book compiling many of the responses that young children have completed. She believes that it is vital that teachers understand what children are facing outside school in order to succeed at school.
"Each day my students bring so much more than just their backpacks to school. There is no magic device that separates the troubles and joys of their home life as they walk through our doors. Each student brings a lifetime of memories, thoughts, and feelings. As teachers we need to honour this."
You can buy Kyle Schwarz' book here.