Saturday, May 10, 2014

Where Everybody Knows Your Name (Dear Katie V2 #19)

Dear Katie,

My last month in high school, I stumbled into my first period Physics class, hardly awake, as usual, as the morning announcements began.  Half listening, I heard three of my baseball teammates were awarded second team all-conference status.  I remember thinking, "That's Cool".  All of a sudden my good friend Fred and his buddy Louie began shaking me saying, "Way to go Cullen".  As I rewinded in my mind what was said on the intercom, I remembered hearing the voice say that I had earned first team honors.  One of my favorite memories of high school.

They say that hearing your name is the sweetest sound in the world.  Remember that in the classroom.  Praise your students by name whenever possible.  I often create hypothetical historical situations where I use students in the classroom names.  It not only engages the kids whose name I use, but also keeps the rest of the class listening as I weave my tale.  Say hi to kids by name in the hallway, be quick to honor them with praise in front of fellow teachers.

When former students run into you around town, you will never see a wider smile than the ones that follow the following statement, "Wow, you remember my name."

As a coach, I do not write up stories for morning announcements to allow the school to know if their team had won or lost the day before.  The main purpose to give the boys on the team the experience of being like their heroes who are announced on ESPN. I try to include as many names of the boys who had good games so they can hear their names and be proud of their accomplishments.  It is neat to walk down the hallway later in the day and a boy recite what they heard about themselves on the intercom, "Johnny Jones' ripped a bases loaded double to begin the scoring barrage."

Knowing and saying students' names is a great example 
how something of such small effort reaps big rewards.

Education is far more than just the subject you teach.  It's about the management of people, creating experiences where they can mature and develop their thinking skills.  Kids are not robots, and by giving them experiences where they can feel good about themselves, will only enhance their effort in school.  Not that I'm one of these "self-esteem first" teachers, but lets be honest, you're going to work harder in a place where you know you, as an individual, are appreciated.

You're going to work harder in a place where everybody knows your name.
(borrowing a phrase from the Cheers theme song)

The other day, your little cousin came home with a "Student of the Month" award.  She received a certificate recognizing her accomplishment.  Also, she earned an ice cream pass as a reward and has her picture on a wall across from the main office at the school.  But do you know what she was most excited by,

"Daddy, they said MY NAME over the loudspeaker."

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