I Wish My Teacher Knew

In order for students to enjoy a rich learning experience, they need to be known by their teachers
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About This Strategy

The I Wish My Teacher Knew strategy is a resource containing the tools teachers need to build a strong foundation for the classroom. It supports teachers to connect with their students on a personal level. When students feel known by their teachers, they are more likely to feel authentically connected to the learning community. Ideally, this strategy would be used in the beginning, middle and end of the school year to begin and maintain a meaningful connection with students.

Implementation Steps

  1. Read the What Kids Wish Their Teachers Knew article linked below in the resources section. Reflect on implications for your relationships with your students. Use the BetterLesson Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning (CRTL) Lesson Plan Template linked in the resource section below to customize your own What Kids Wish Their Teachers Knew lesson plan in a way that is responsive to the needs of your learners.

  2. Provide students with the opportunity to share what they wish you knew with you. If it helps, let students know that their submissions can be anonymous. Consider writing and sharing what you wish your teachers knew about you when you were in the grade(s) you teach as a way of modeling for and connecting with your students. You can also extend the lesson to have students share what they wish their classmates knew.

  3. Extend the activity by providing students with the time and opportunity to write Where I'm From poems. Consider writing and sharing your own Where I'm From poem as a way of modeling for and connecting with your students.

  4. Watch the Facundo the Great short film (linked in the resources section below) and read the To Say the Name is to Begin the Story article. Provide students with an opportunity to share their name stories with you and others. Consider sharing your name story with your students as a way of modeling for and connecting with your students.

  5. Debrief the lessons with your students by asking them questions such as, "What were some of your most powerful learning moments during this lesson?" "What was most challenging about this lesson?" "What is something insightful you learned about your peers?" "How will you use that knowledge to foster positive relationships with your peers?" End with a closing circle (see resource linked below).

Questions to Consider:

When you were a student in the grade(s) you now teach, how well were you known by your teachers? What difference did it make for you as a learner?

Social Justice Standards - Identity

Addressing Identity Standards empowers educators to explore how identity is developed and how it shapes interactions with students. There are opportunities to learn, go deeper, apply and reflect on learnings.

Related Resources

Take some time to view the youtube video of actress Uzo Aduba explaining why she would never change her name, and the TedTalk from author Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche about the danger in only telling or knowing a single story of a person to deepen your exploration of the importance of understanding and valuing peoples' stories, names, and selves. Extend the learning with the My Name activity based on an excerpt from Sandra Cisneros' House on Mango Street

Related Lessons

Explore the "My Name" lesson by 8th grade ELA BetterLesson Master Teacher, Julianne Beebe, to see how her students write a "My Name" poem while reading The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros.

Explore the "Welcome to Biology Class! Getting to Know Each Other Through Poetry" lesson by 9th grade Biology BetterLesson Master Teacher, Maria Laws to see how her students develop "Where I'm From" poems in the beginning of the school year.

Explore the "Where I'm From: Introducing Students to Poetry of Place with Copy Change" lesson by 12th grade ELA BetterLesson Master Teacher Glenda Funk to see how her students write "Where I'm From" poems.

Explore the "It's Opening Day in 8th Grade" lesson by 8th grade BetterLesson Science Master Teacher Lori Knasiak to see her "Who Am I?" graphic organizer.