Saturday, March 16, 2013

What's in a Name?

Quote from Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
*Names have been changed to protect the identity of my students

I recently read an article called 'Respect the 'Little Q in Your Class' by Ashley Lauren Samsa and it reminded me of one of my college professors.  The article talks about how teachers should learn how to say their students' names and this was something that my professor drilled into us.  Samsa discusses how someone's name is part of their identity.  She says, "Names are personal and reflect  our identity and culture. It is important to get them right."

In my experience as a teacher, I have seen the importance of getting a child's name correct first hand.  For example, in my afternoon class, I have two sisters.  It took me about two days to get them straight.  Well, I've noticed that some of my students still haven't figure out which sister is which.  So I'm constantly hearing this:

Joe to Nina: "Hilary, do you want to play?"
Nina: "I'm not Hilary! I'm Nina!" 

I can hear the frustration in Nina's voice when she corrects Joe.  She doesn't want to be called Hilary because that's not her name, it's her sisters.  

The moral of this post is that teachers need to learn the correct pronunciation of their students' names.  Like Samsa says, "Throughout life, students will encounter enough people who mispronounce their names. As teachers, it is our responsibility to learn our students’ names and thus respect their identities and their cultures. "

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