What I Wish My Students Knew

These teachers speak from their hearts.

What I Wish My Students Knew

Recently on our WeAreTeachers Helpline, one of our teachers posted this prompt for teachers to respond to: “What I wish my students knew.”

In their typical passionate, articulate fashion, our teacher-readers answered with the most heartfelt, honest, eye-opening responses. We loved their answers and just had to share them with you.

What I Wish My Students Knew

How I Feel About Them

“I wish my students knew how much I truly cared for them, how much sleep I have lost worrying about them, and what I can do to help them”—KH

“I would give my life for them. That I wish I could fix their messed up lives but can only do so much. That I love them as Christ loves me even when I (they) make mistakes. That I see the potential in them and push them not because I’m mean but because I want better for them. That if I could, I would open a home for abused and neglected children.”—AHM

“How deeply I really care about them.”—AE


What I Wish my Students Knew

“I’ll never give up on them.”—KHE

“How much I think of them when they aren’t with me in the classroom!”—KJ

“How much I truly want them to succeed in school and in life!”—AAP

“I love them unconditionally.”—MJ


That I’m Doing My Best

I Wish My Students Knew

“I really don’t intend for their lessons to be ‘boring’ it’s just that I’m still trying to find my place in this school and it’s easier to use what is already provided. I wish they knew how many nights I stay up late, how many weekend hours I give, and how much money I spend on TPT, trying to find the best activities for them.”—JB

“How hard I’m trying to help them all feel safe. How hard I’m trying to make sure they get what they need. That I wish I could do better for them.”—SDH

“How hard I try.”—JC

“I sometimes put more effort into planning and teaching them than I do my health, my marriage, or my daughter.”—JHE

“I try my hardest to make learning fun and engaging but sometimes I fail. That it’s okay to fail, we all do!”—LP

“How much time, effort, and thought I put into my interactions with them, that they DON’T see.”—LS

“Those bags under my eyes are from staying up until 1 am to make that PowerPoint for them after running auditions until 9pm … and it’s not just because I’m ‘old.'”—JF


What Drives Me Crazy

I Wish My Students Knew

“Kids need to learn at an early age the teacher is not there to entertain them. I taught middle school and it drove me crazy how many times students asked if we were doing something fun.”—MS

“How much I hate it when they show me their wiggly tooth. LOL. Really!! I just smile and act excited for them when in reality I am trying not to look.”—SBR


That I Have Some Really Valuable Life Lessons I Could Teach Them

I Wish My Students Knew

“Courtesy, respect, and good manners are expected everywhere.”—HB

“How to be respectful towards those who are in authority and to their classmates.”—DA

“Life could be easier/better later on if they put more effort into their education now.”—AMW

“Grades are earned, not given.”—JCH

“How simply being pleasant, friendly, and polite makes every adult in our building fall all over themselves to help them while being rude, inconsiderate, and loud does not.”—SCA


Why I Do the Things I Do

I Wish My Students Knew

“I’m not ‘picking on them’ when I expect them to follow the rules and they get consequences for not following them.”—KM

“I teach science. I wish they knew that as much as I try to make it fun and interesting, sometimes there’s just STUFF THEY NEED TO KNOW, especially if they plan on taking that class in college. A professor is going to expect that they understand what a mole is, or how to look at a periodic table and give details about an element, like how many valence electrons it has. Yes, I’ll try to do labs and activities with you, but not everything can be learned by labs.”—WF

“Talking sternly is not yelling.”—BR

“I’m strict because I love them, and strict does not = mean.”—KL

“They make me proud and happy even if I scold them sometimes.”—CRM


That I Believe in Them (Even When They Don’t Believe in Themselves)

I Wish My Students Knew“Their upbringing doesn’t determine their fate.”—KB

“When I tell them they are smart, I mean it. I know what makes them awesome and I see their potential so clearly!”—TS

“I think all of these state tests are ridiculous and that I know they are capable of learning and have learned and grown FAR more than any test score shows.”—KW

“I see potential in every one of them if they just tried!”—SG

“How I see them … full of potential.”—JPJ

“They can change the cycle of poverty they are in with a great teacher and some will and perseverance.”—DLM

“How worthy they are (I teach at an alternative high school!).”—CHS


That I’m Human Too

I Wish My Students Knew

“How much I need some time away from teaching over the summer break, but how much I think about each one of them, every day, during that time.”—MD

“Sometimes I need my personal space.”—AS

“The real reason behind why I’ve been on extended sick leave for a number of weeks.  I wish I could explain to them why I am dealing with anxiety and depression, which is affecting me not just mentally/psychologically, but also physically. It is not their fault that this has happened to me, but I worry that some of them do think that.”—LB

“I never stop working for them. And that it hurts my feelings when I’m pumped about an activity and they don’t show up for class.”—AHH

“How much their constant bad behavior affects my health.”—RMS

“I wish my students knew how hurtful words really affect others and myself. Those rude comments you make, those disrespectful words you say to me, really do hurt.”—BT

“Their disrespectful words and attitudes toward me triggered a PTSD flashback so severe yesterday that I had to stop twice on the way home or I wouldn’t have made it home.”—SWD

“Adults get hurt feelings too.”—MK


All of the Above

“I would give my life for them. I think about them all the time. How hard it is to deal with anxiety and depression while teaching. I really try to make the room fun. If they would talk less they’d get more accomplished. Bullies exist in adulthood too. This is a much harder job than most people think. I can’t imagine doing anything else, I love it so much.”—MZ

“That when they talk over me and don’t listen, I get very overwhelmed and frustrated. That I spend hours after school working for them. That whining isn’t going to get them ANYWHERE. That if I gave my parents/teacher the attitude they give me when I was their age I would’ve gotten my butt whopped to the next state.That no matter what, my love for them warms my heart and soul each and every day and I’m honored to be their teacher.”—ADV