Kyle Schwartz, an elementary school teacher from Colorado, sparked a national conversation on education when she shared some of her student’s responses to the statement “I Wish My Teacher Knew.”

#IWishMyTeacherKnew

Schwartz, a third grade teacher, has been teaching for three years, but is currently in her first year teaching at Doull Elementary in Denver. Most of her students come from underprivileged homes. In an effort to learn more about her students, Schwartz tasked them with an anonymous exercise to complete the sentence “I wish my teacher knew…”

“As a new teacher, I struggled to understand the reality of my students’ lives and how to best support them. I just felt like there was something I didn’t know about my students,” Schwartz told ABC News.

Schwartz received a variety of answers, but some were particularly hearthbreaking and inspired Schwartz to share the messages on Twitter using the hashtag #IWishMyTeacherKnew.

Some revealed that their parents were rarely home, or that they were lonely. One student wanted Schwartz to know that his or her father had been deported and he hadn’t seen him in years.

Other teachers also embraced the exercised and shared a few of their student responses. “I wish my teacher knew that I got bullied on the bus. It made me feel sad,” reads one shared by Lisa Curtin (@LisaCurtin7).

Dawn King (@dawnkingCCPS) shared that a fourth grader revealed she wished her teacher knew that she thinks she is depressed.

Schwartz said she thinks teachers have embraced the exercise because “all teachers want to support their students.”

Schwartz said she gave her students the option of turning in anonymous notes to ensure their privacy, but it appears that some didn’t mind sharing their thoughts with the class, resulting in some positive classroom bonding.

“Building community in the classroom is a major goal of this lesson. After one student shared that she had no one to play with at recess, the rest of the class chimed in and said, ‘we got your back.’ The next day during recess, I noticed she was playing with a group of girls. Not only can I support my students, but my students can support each other,” Schwartz added.

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