Something I’ve Noticed


What She Wore: Navy blue long-sleeve tee; beaded khaki slides; khaki courderoys that could possibly be described as knickers–they look like capris, but they come in a little under my knee.

Every teacher has that moment when looking at their rolls before school starts: they named their child what?  But we giggle for a moment, and then get on with business. 
There’s this teacher at school who can’t remember the kid’s names.  We’ve been at school six weeks and she still can’t remember them.  She has a LOT of trouble with this.  She doesn’t really seem to mind, either.  The other day I heard her barking at one of the kids using his last name.  Not, "Mr. Johnson", but just "Johnson."
I have a real problem with this. 
She will tell you that she’s "personable," but that she isn’t good with names.  I think this is a cop-out. This teacher has been accused by more than one of her students of being a racist–I would say with certainty that she isn’t.  I think the kids are picking up on her lack of interest in them as individuals.  They don’t know how to put a name to it, so they call it racism. 
The reality is this: teaching is rarely about the subject.  We’ve all had an experience with that person who knows EVERYTHING about their subject, but somehow fail to get it across.  You can be an expert in the field, but that’s not what teaching is really about, is it?  Most of us can subtract multi-digit numbers, but have ever tried to teach someone else how to do it?  You can’t communicate with another person unless you know who they are.  I pride myself on trying to know all my kid’s names by the first week.  Once I’ve got my fifty down, I start working on the other fifty that make up my team.  Knowing the kids names is only the beginning–you have to know where they came from, and what makes them tick. 
It’s like I think I’m Dale Carnegie or something.


About takedeux

In one summer I had a baby who was hospitalized for five weeks, quit my job, and moved back to my hometown. This blog is about starting over.
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28 Responses to Something I’ve Noticed

  1. Sue says:

    I totally agree with you!!!  Nothing like making a child feel more insignificant than not even knowing his/her name!  Don\’t even get me started on those Razorbacks.  YUCK!  Good thing they are not in our conference.  The only team more aggravating than Razorbacks  are the Missouri Tigers.  Talk about mean fans!  These people break all the rules and downright cruel for stupid reasons!Sue : )

  2. Sheryl-Ann says:

    You are right, KM.  It really does make a difference when you take the time out to memorize the students\’ names. Like you said, I think it shows them that you are genuinely interested in their well being and they want to try their best as a result.  I do that with the college kids and I truly believe that it helps.  I have to agree with you that saying you\’re not good with names is indeed a cop out.  Take care and have a pleasant week.

  3. Cheryl says:

    9 is so happy with her tracher this year that she sent her a letter telling her how much she loved her.  LOL  She wrote a paper on what age she would like to be and stay permanently and why.  She chose age 22 because she could then own her own house and order things she sees on TV.  She told me they always say you have to be 18 or older to call and so being 22 seems just perfect to her.  I asked her if being married and having kids was in the picture and she said she would be to young for that.  LOL  They are going to put her little essay in the local paper….She is thrilled

  4. Becca says:

    I agree with you. It takes effort, but if you do it, it shows that you have respect for your children and you are willing to take the time to learn about them, too!

  5. CJ says:

    You\’re absolutely right here.  She has no interest whatsoever in the individuals.  Our name is the most important thing we own….without it, who are we?  Great post, and a great heads up for everybody. 

  6. David says:

    My wife goes through the same thing. She teaches High School english.  I dont see how she does it.  Thank you for the kind words the other day on my blog.

  7. Nooner™ says:

    I feel guilt-ridden if I can\’t remember someone\’s name. Mentioning their name in conversation is the highest compliment. Knowing that someone who is talking to you can\’t remember your name is the lowest.

  8. Jaysey says:

    I have at least 150 students this semester.  I know all of their names.  I not only know their names, but I also know tidbits about their histories or personal lives.  I know who is married and who has kids, who works part-time, who doesn\’t, who hates English, who loves it, who\’s majoring in Nursing, who\’s majoring in Biology.  It\’s not that hard, and it IS important.

  9. Stacy says:

    I myself have a hard time with names, but I try to know my students name from youth group.  Although I do sometimes get brothers mixed up.  We have a teacher in our district that gives nicknames to kids when he can\’t remember their names.  They are nice names and the kids actually love it, it makes those ones feel unique.  A lot of the kids keep that name all through school as the others start calling that also.  One example is "Froggy" – he loved the nickname and now even his family calls him that.

  10. Sarah says:

    I have a bad time with names in my own life, but I\’d like to think that if I were a teacher I would be able to get it together. Definitely need to learn the students\’ names! I was always kind of a blend-inner kid, but I was smart and got good grades so teachers always could pick me out. I was a little forgetable to the subs, but that\’s because I never caused trouble!

  11. Nadine says:

    Well that is just rude not to learn their names!

  12. WINDOW LIVE says:

    I definitely think you are the female teaching version of Dale.  You rock Sister!  I wish you were my son\’s colab teacher.

  13. Gina says:

    I totally agree with you!  I understand that trying to learn a large group of names is a tough and often times, a daunting job, but its practically vital that teachers do it!  I think it teaches children respect when you address them properly, i.e. Mr. Johnson.  You KNOW she would flip out if said teacher responded with, Yes, [teacher\’s last name].  Someone should tell that teacher to reserve yelling "Johnson!" for the football field.   

  14. Gina says:

    i meant to say…if said student (not teacher)…

  15. Sandy says:

    Maybe she needs to take a human relations class.  In my Human Relations class, we had to read, "How to make friends and influence people."  Someone needs to buy her the book.

  16. Tracy says:

    I agree, it\’s important to learn names and get to know the kids.  Especially at that age — in college, eh not so important (although I could be saying that because I went to a big school with a lot of big classes/lectures) but in grade school, oh ya.  I think she should make more of an effort to learn the names, obviously the kids are picking up on it and if that was me I\’d think shoot she can\’t even remember my name, she obviously doesn\’t care!

  17. Unknown says:

    I totally agree with you, I mean come on spending like 6hours w/ the kids every day for 6weeks???? Still not knowing their names? Crazy. You should know if they have superman or batman underwear by then for goodness sakes!!! OMG remember under-roo\’s? I HAVE to look around for some of those I think the GIRL would love them! OOpsy back to the subject…yes names…

  18. WINDOW LIVE says:

    Thanks for posting that comment.  Your a teacher so I respect your opinion on such things.  I always tend to think about my own job.  They would laugh me out of the office if I came in with such nonsense.  Have a good day tomorrow.

  19. Alicia says:

    I think I would have a problem with this as well….maybe you should make her recite her kids\’ names daily until she gets them right!!
    HUGS!!  🙂

  20. ahmed says:

    Hi There
    I`m Mido from Egypt
    I like to meet new people
    I wish we can talk soon

  21. Carol says:

    I\’ve come around to thinking that all teachers should address all students as Mr. or Miss as a show of respect.  It is unforgivable for that teacher to have addressed that boy as "Johnson."  How disrespectful!

  22. Lizzie-Beth4Him says:

    I have meant to put a comment in, for some time now, but just couldn\’t do it.  I am a retired teacher and miss my students and teaching, tremendously.  I retired so we could move to be with and take care of my mom.  It isn\’t that we aren\’t happy to do that, but whenever I see your site, it brings back that old feeling that kept me loving what I did.  Anyway, I agree with you that it is important to know students names.  If you expect them to learn what you are teaching, you need to know them as individuals, to best instill the information they will need, and the openness to express themselves, and not learning their names is as bad as them not learning their lesson, because you aren\’t being the example of why infomation is important.  If you can\’t learn their names… why should they want to learn your subjects?   I taught kindergarten and elementary levels, as well as subbing all levels, and as I got older and had more brothers and sister of other students, or saw personalities that were similar to other students, I sometimes mixed up names.  It was rather like what you do with your own children…"Johnny, I mean Timmy, you need to clean up your room."  This gets worse as you get older.  Anyway, I would tell my students that I was sorry and did know exactly who they were, and sometime it is like how parents act with them, getting sibling names confused.  After that, I always made it a point to call on them to answer a question or help me somehow…just to show I did know exactly who they were.
    I also enjoyed your previous entry, very much, and couldn\’t agree with you more!

  23. CJ says:

    Just poking my head in, being nosey, reading comments.  Hope you\’re having a terrific week um…er…uhhh…what was your name again?  LOL. 

  24. Unknown says:

    Hi there I\’m Fido from Egypt…
    I keep seeing this guy in random spots he freaks me out…lets egg his site.

  25. K says:

    I was going to tell you to check out Carol\’s blog posting of yesterday but it would seem she already got here!!!
    You are correct – we respond better as human beings when we feel a genuine interest is being taken in our well being.  I know I did better in the classes where teachers got to know not only my name but also a little bit about who I was as a student.
    I would be proud to have any child of mine be a student in your class room, with you teaching!
    Have a great weekend,
    Ciao bella,

  26. David says:

    Hi KM!!!
    Well, I know I certainly agree with you!  I\’ve experienced similar issues where I work…a small company with 40ish people, I have had some difficulty learning the names of some of the people we work with (I also work with a fair number of foreign nationals, so they tend to have what to me are rather strange names).  Funny though, how many of them have taken "American" names, calling themselves Mike, Ellen, etc. 
    I have to admit that I should make more of an effort…this post kind of made me aware of that…and I\’m going to work at it!
    Thanks for opening my eyes!!!
    -David  //BootJockey

  27. Kathleen says:

    I swear I am the teacher you are talking about.  I strain my brain to try and memorize the kids names and there are only 102.  When my team teacher is reading aloud I look at the seating chart and try to memorize who the kids are. It usually takes me around 8 weeks to get them all down and once we change the seating chart, I find I don\’t have them perfect.  It does bother me – A LOT! I felt a little better when I realized that the kids only have to memorize 4 – 6 teachers\’ names, and some of them still don\’t remember mine.  Still, if anyone has a trick to remembering names, I sure could use it. I have been off of work for three weeks because of surgery, and I am sure I am back to square one.

  28. Andrew says:

    i know what you are taking about 🙂
    i am an art teacher and havbe 250 students, i remember all their name, but sometime i have problem with all the commmon name, there are just too many of them. 😀

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