Back in the Classroom — Week 3
Being back in person has reminded me of the power of names.
I’ve always made it a priority to immediately learn all my students’ names. At the beginning of my career I’d do it on the first day. Twenty years later it takes a little bit longer, but it still gets done quickly.
Much of teaching comes down to relationships, and the first step in building a relationship with a student is knowing their name. Not just reading it off a participant list, but really knowing it. Saying it sharply to get their attention, saying it solemnly to make a point, saying it proudly when attaching their name to a conjecture, saying it in the hall when you recognize them outside their usual corner of the room.
I was able to accomplish some of this last year during remote learning, but not with all of my students. And it took tremendous time and effort. After only a few weeks back in the classroom I’ve already built relationships that would not have been possible last year, because I’m able to look all my students in the eye every day and really learn their names.