name game

early in the semester…i was digging in…trying to guide my students and get ’em all moving in the right direction…you know, this is when they want to go their own way (press play on the fleetwood mac song of the “almost-same” name)…this is when they want to “buck you”…test you…see what you’re made of…

well, it was the last class of the day…and i had move three kids to new seats within 20 minutes because their behavior “told me to”:)

i was getting impatient and just wanting them to listen…and i didn’t think that was too much to ask?!

but it was…because when you’re at this point…it’s on, baby, it’s on…and, one student is always going to push it further…take it to the limit…and you’re always going to push back, even harder…

so, he started acting up…a young man in the back row (yep, back row crew)

so, i looked over the room (there wasn’t a lot of extra space with 40 kids in my classroom) and identified a spot for him to be moved to and said…

brandon, i want you to move up here.

he didn’t move…so, i said it again…with a little more edge…

brandon, i want you to move up here–to this seat. 

he didn’t move.

i couldn’t believe it!

so, i went again…

brandon, i want you to move up here, now.

he didn’t move…and after an uncomfortable silence…another kid piped in…

his name is bradley.

i cursed myself.

then, i said…

bradley, please move up here.

[which he did]

later that day, i thought about how i messed it up and about the importance of knowing kids’ names…and it made me think of someone i know…

it made me think of one of my wife’s best friends…

her name is nikki and she knows just how powerful it is to name someone…and she’s got it down to a science…she always makes a point of calling a person by their name…not only at the “meeting point” in an interaction, but throughout an entire conversation…i’ve never seen someone do that before–never, ever…but, it is an authentic, genuine, intentional thing…it’s something that captures your attention right away…it’s something that makes you want to listen…

it’s the kind of thing that you want to replicate, to mimic in your own life once you experience it…but, no one does it quite like nikki…

anyways, knowing kids’ names is really important, for a lot of reasons…not just during times of discipline…but, more often, when you want to start building that rapport, that trust…things that you need to have to do the job…calling a kid by their “right name” makes all the difference in the world…

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