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by Bart Everson

So a third-grade teacher out in Colorado asked her students to write things they wish she knew about them. She posted some of the responses to Twitter with the hashtag #iwishmyteacherknew. Now people all over the world are talking about making deeper connections between teachers and students. It's become a news story, a media phenomenon in its own right.

(Read some international coverage.)

It is clear that many of Kyle Schwartz's third-graders are dealing with some heavy stuff, some big emotional issues.

Is this any less true for our undergraduate students? I don't think so. In fact, I'd imagine that some of our students are dealing with burdens just as heavy, if not more so.

I want to go to college

That third-grader who wrote "I wish my teacher knew that I want to go to college" — that student is enrolled here now, figuratively speaking.

How much do you know about what is going on in the lives of your students, outside the classroom? With so much content to cover, with such a full academic schedule, how can we maintain the capacity for empathic dialog?

If you asked your students what they wish you knew — what might they tell you?