Ten Blog Posts to Start the School Year: Knowing Your Names

Reboot that brain, Nakada. You've got names to learn!
It’s Sunday night. We are a two-teacher household. Our own kids are in bed, and our minds are prepping for the week ahead. I have papers to grade and enter in the grade book, but what I’m struggling with tonight is names. We’ve had four days of school, but I still haven't gotten all of the new names to stick.

I know most of them, probably more than half, but as I make my way through sets of papers, there are names that don’t bring a face to mind. So, that is my first order of business. I've got to get all of the names to stick. 

Because that is how I teach. Even though my class sizes are above the contract cap, even though I’ll have turnover with students leaving and new students checking in from now until the last week of school, even though my teacher-brain rolodex is already teeming with thousands of names, once you are my student, you are forever my student and I will know your name.  

How can I know who you are or what you need if I don’t know your name? How can I call on you at random or say hi to you in the halls? It’s impossible for me to teach, to build a community, or for my students to believe I care about them if I don’t know their names.

So, this is for Auzzie, Austin, Makeda, and Mariela in second period, Evelyn, Emily, Elias, and Evan in third period, Aaron, Adi, Aniyah, Athena in fourth period, Nicodemus, Norberto, Raheem, and Rhaybhe in fifth period, and my two Diamonds, two Davids, Deborah, Diana, and Daniel in sixth period. The alliterative dominance in your classes will not defeat me. I will know your names. And for Jacob (2), James, Jenesy, Jeremy, Jonathan, Jack, Jordan (2), Julie (2), Jean, Jerry, Joshua, Julissa, Jackson, Jasmine (2), Jesselly, Jonatan, Janan, Giselle, Julian, Jason, Jemieh, and Jazlynn: don't worry. I got this. 


  1. omg! It's harder than learning a foreign language!! I thought I would learn Spanish with Akira and started learning from a self teach book. I think names are much harder to learn.

    1. I think it is, Sandee. So many names and spellings and nicknames. At times it feels impossible.

  2. You've got this. You always have! It's when they do NaNoWriMo that truly amazes me. How do you keep all their stories graded, presented, organized, compiled and deeply meaningful? I used to watch their papers come off the public copy machine.

    1. Thanks, Caren. I'll get this, but I don't have it yet. Miss your face in those halls but it's so good to see you so happily doing your thing!