Teachers and students stick together


Jaye Sparks

"I wish my teacher knew..." wall set up in the copy room for teachers to look at while they're making copies to better connect them to their students.

Jaye Sparks
The sticky notes attached to the I wish my teacher knew wall containing anonymous messages left by the freshmen.

A rush of compassion, empathy, and humanitarian expression is now being put in action. “I wish my teacher knew…” is just a thought, but one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. With the repetitive motion of bells ringing, classwork, and people yelling in the halls, you can get lost and caught up in school and people don’t seem to realize that they are human too. At school, we are students that have brains to memorize and ask questions, but we also are capable of emotion, good or bad. This is something that shouldn’t be ignored. Now, whether we want our teachers to know what’s going on is up to us, the students.

A recent motivational speaker inspired a teacher here at Taft High. Sarah Hamblin attended a CADA conference that had a, “…very motivational speaker who was a foster kid.” The speaker reminded Hamblin, “…that students have a lot of things going on, and that it’s not always easy for them.” She asked herself, “How can we remind the teachers about that?” It is important for both teachers and students to have a certain amount of compassion for each other. Putting yourself in other’s shoes is a very true phrase that we need start applying more often.

We can never truly know what’s going on in others’ lives, and that goes for both students and teachers. We all seem to forget that we are all human, and that everyone has emotions and struggles of their own that they have to carry each day. Some people’s situations or mental state aren’t as ideal as others. That’s why, when Hamblin saw the sticky note idea at another school, she decided to bring it here to Taft High as well.

Some of the post-it notes Human Element received are slightly funny, and some, like Mrs. Heber said, “Will tug at your heart.” It is important for us, as a community, not to forget why these really matter. These post-it notes serve as a way to become more human or vulnerable for the teachers. It may show them a side they don’t see or things they wouldn’t have thought twice about. Now they can. Vulnerability, no matter where you are, is important. It connects people together, creates relationships, and bonds people in a way that is ever so humbling.

Human Element and Hamblin gave the English classes of all the freshmen sticky notes saying, “I wish my teacher knew…” at the top and then had the students finish that sentence letting teachers know what they wish they knew. It’s completely anonymous and will be hung up in the copy room. That way, it can be there for all the teachers as a reminder of their students point of view. The idea is, “… to give us all a better understanding of where our students are coming from, to get to know them better, to find out what they’re like, what scares them, and what they need help with,” says Emmy Lou Heber.

Mrs. Heber also said that students tend to hold a lot of information in them and it’s rare for anyone to ask them to reveal their private thoughts and feelings. This post-it note project can really give the teachers another perspective of the students who are here at Taft High. For now, it’s only the freshmen of Taft High’s points of view, but Human Element is wanting to have the upperclassmen fill out these post-it notes as well.   

Anonymous and behind doors, in the copy room, the display is there on a wall for them to view and take in what the students wanted them to know, to see, and to possibly feel.

Even anonymous post-it notes can have such a huge impact on the teachers’ outlook on the students they’re teaching. It allows them to create better relationships with students by gauging the kind of support and help they might need, whether it be school related or something more personal. Having compassion and just general respect for one another could make things so much easier for everyone and create an overall positive atmosphere for everyone here at school.