Carolina Biological OSE - July 2024


Forums / General Science and Teaching / What's in a name?

General Science and Teaching

What's in a name?

Author Post
Jacqueline McDonnough Jacqueline McDonnough 1910 Points

How do you react to your students' unusual names? Read this blog and let me know what you think.

Mary Bigelow Mary Bigelow 10275 Points

I asked each student to introduce himself/herself and annotated my class list with a phonetic version of the name. It also let me know which student preferred a nickname to the formal name on the class roster.

Jacqueline McDonnough Jacqueline McDonnough 1910 Points

Excellent strategy Mary!

Jessica Kim Jessica Kim 370 Points

Hi Jacqueline, This blog post was really interesting to read! I never knew that this was an issue in schools. I know that many teachers struggle with pronouncing certain names but I never knew they looked at it with derision. I am a future teacher and I honestly don't think I would ever look at a unique name and snicker about it. I think names in general are so special and make the student stand out. Names make it easy to remember someone and I find it ridiculous that anyone would judge or make fun of another person just because of the way their name is. A name doesn't define whether a person is better than another and it most certainly does not come with a specific ethnicity.

Nicholas Peaks Nicholas Peaks 65 Points

Hello, I'm just a college student about to begin their student teaching and I never really gave consideration to something like the difficulty in pronouncing someone's name so this was a good read.  I feel like a reason I never really considered this an issue is because I always imagined that first day or first few days, an instructor would have some form of ice breaker that would allow students to identify and establish themselves within the classroom.  It would just be something simple like going around and having students state their name, preferred name to be called, grade (if in high school teaching a mixed grade classroom), then something that will get students invested in the class like "what do you hope to do in this class", "what's an interesting fact about yourself", "what was the best thing you did over the break", "what would you call the soundtrack of your life", etc. Then have each person end by stating their name again.  This way you can not only learn names by placing together name, face, and factoids, but it also allows for students to learn each others names and about each other.  Identity is something important to each person and should be respected as such.  "My identity is something I create, that's why it begins with I"

Zeben Gorman Zeben Gorman 375 Points

I'm totally on board with what this blog has to say. I can absolutely imagine white people having a discussion like the one described in this blog. I happen to be one of those white kids with a weird white-kid name, and it was moderately annoying going through school constantly being called the wrong name... I cant even imagine what that would have been like if it was backed with real blatant racism. Long story short, I'm not saying my situation was at all similar, but I definitely won't be laughing about a name I haven't seen before in the teacher's lounge.

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