Learning student names
I remember when I was student teaching I worked hard to learn the names of the students with whom I was working. Early in the semester (before I had taken over the classes) I called several students by name during some lab work and they were shocked. They commented that their teacher didn't even know their names (and this was second semester!). From watching that teacher's interactions with their students, I could tell that their was little relationship development effort being expended and the students' attitudes reflected it. I decided then and there that one of my main goals would be to develop meaningful relationships with my students - something that I think has greatly impacted my ability to manage my classes.
Perhaps the most basic step toward relationship development is learning students names. Learning their names quickly demonstrates desire to know the students and that you see them as individuals rather than cogs in a wheel. Yet, with 150 new names to learn each year, learning the names quickly can be daunting. Furthermore, I teach in a very diverse district and many of the names are new to me, have unfamiliar origins and are difficult for me to pronounce.
This year during the first day of school (today), I took out my flip video camera and as the students filled out the first day information sheet (further demonstrating my desire to know them as individuals) I went around to each student and had them say their name into the camera. With all of my sections and all of my students, the resulting video is about 7 minutes long. I can watch the video several times over the next few days and be able to match names with faces rather than just names with locations on a seating chart. Additionally, I emailed the video to the other teachers on my team so we can all be able to recognize students in the hallway and in our classes sooner rather than later.
I hope you all work to know your students as individuals and know that the extra effort you make to develop relationships with your students will reap great rewards in the form of improved student learning, classroom management, and greater participation!
Please share further strategies you use to develop meaningful relationships with your students in the comments!
Posted by Jerrid Kruse