Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What's In A Name?

I hope I am not the only administrator who goes through this. I work with the same students for 180 days, we experience a 10 week summer vacation, and all of a sudden I forget a ton of names. At Open House before this school year started, I was assisting at the check-in table. Students assumed I would remember who they were, but I often forgot or confused one student with another.

Now we are "back in the swing of things" completing day 5 of school. I am working actively to recover my memory of student names. Here are some of my strategies:

1. Introduce myself to new students. I am already familiar with their names so it is simply a matter of connecting the names with faces at this point.

2. In between classes, I am in the hallways. As students pass me, it is like a game of mental gymnastics reminding myself silently of their names. When I find one I can't recall, I refer to last year's yearbook to refresh my memory.

3. I try to greet (by name) as many students as I can throughout the day.This allows the students to know I'm making an attempt.

I was incredibly encouraged this week when a new 7th grader overheard me greeting students and said "Wow. You really know a lot of people."

Why would I focus on this and encourage other school administrators to do the same? Using a student's name indicates that I care enough to know who they are. The name is the first step toward a positive relationship with each student and I look forward to truly knowing as many students as possible.

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