An unusual thing happened to me today as I checked out Twitter feed. I’m normally critical of trending hashtags, especially considering the fact that they usually pertain to celebrities and banal topics. But my eyes ended up passing over #IWishMyTeacherKnew.
And when I viewed those tweets, my heart broke.
Kids confessing their family problems. Kids admitting to learning disabilities they had been ashamed of. Kids opening up to financial difficulties that hindered their ability to do homework.
It takes a great deal of courage to own up to one’s struggles and difficulties, even more difficult to confess them to another human being. It reveals a great deal of trust in one’s teacher to confess such issues.
In the end, I would like to imagine a world in which every teacher is able to craft such a personal relationship with their students. THAT type of environment, one in which shame is replaced with a support system that is uplifting to students. Teaching does not just involve course materials and abstract concepts. Teaching is a fully immersive experience, something that brings the experiences and struggles of students into the classroom to build upon or combat.
Truth be told, I wish my teacher knew how much of a role model and influence she has been in my life. I wish my teacher knew that she is the reason I came to Rutgers, that I became an RA and Orientation Leader, that I applied and was accepted to grad school to replicate her methods for generations of students.
I wish my teacher knew just how much she has meant to me.
In the end, I really do believe she knew. And that’s the best we can hope for, right?