What singles a student out from his/her peers?Here's what inspired this: At the last school I taught at, I was told in an evaluation, and I quote, "don't call your students by their names. It...

What singles a student out from his/her peers?

Here's what inspired this: At the last school I taught at, I was told in an evaluation, and I quote, "don't call your students by their names. It singles them out."

Well, duh! That's kind of the idea, ya know? If I'm not addressing a question or comment to the whole class, I specifically want one person to respond, which is why we have names in the first place. In this same school, it was strictly forbidden to place student names on the board (for positive or negative reasons), and other practices that might "set a student apart" were also prohibited. Is the whole world so over-sensitized that we now cannot even verbally address students for fear of psychological damage? Or am I just ranting without justification? Your thoughts, s'il vous plait....

Asked on by engtchr5

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amy-lepore's profile pic

amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

This reminds me of my early college years at a huge four-year university...no one knew anyone's name.  We were numbers on a scantron.  It is ridiculous that it should be this way at a high school.  No high school is so large that teachers should not know and use their students' names, or that students should expect to be able to melt into the seats in which they sit.  That rather defeats the "No Child Left Behind" theory, doesn't it?  Not knowing their names allows for mores slippage between the proverbial cracks.  UGH.

sullymonster's profile pic

sullymonster | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Although I agree with #4 that education is a pendulum swinging, I feel that we have reached a point where the damn thing has swung so far to the right that the rope has broken and there is a large heavy object just hurtling through space.  Where it lands, nobody knows.  The litigation of the past 10 years, even just the past 5 years (particularly in CT) has become so dense and complex that I can not foresee how the system will be able to back off of it.  How do we restore responsibility in the general public?  How do we eliminate the sense of entitlement that keeps parents and students from accepting responsibility?  How do we help the districts lose their fear of litigation, and thus prevent their interference in our class activities.  I, like so many, have suffered the double dealing that results in changed grades and ridiculous allowances.  I don't know how we go back.

To go back to the original question of the topic, however, I'll say this:  what singles a student out for me is integrity.  Give me 20 lazy students who admit that they are lazy and don't try to excuse it away over any 1 single whiner any day.

engtchr5's profile pic

engtchr5 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted on

It's good to hear I'm not the only one who thought that this line of psychology was complete and utter nonsense. In dire contrast, I currently work in a place where names are used like weapons -- "Student X! Quit living up to your name!" In that isolated instance, I can see where the derogatory use of student names could be considered insulting or hurtful, but in all honesty, how many PROFESSIONAL teachers really utter that kind of statement? Most of us know better, I would hope...
pmiranda2857's profile pic

pmiranda2857 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

What singles a student out from his/her peers?

Here's what inspired this: At the last school I taught at, I was told in an evaluation, and I quote, "don't call your students by their names. It singles them out."

Well, duh! That's kind of the idea, ya know? If I'm not addressing a question or comment to the whole class, I specifically want one person to respond, which is why we have names in the first place. In this same school, it was strictly forbidden to place student names on the board (for positive or negative reasons), and other practices that might "set a student apart" were also prohibited. Is the whole world so over-sensitized that we now cannot even verbally address students for fear of psychological damage? Or am I just ranting without justification? Your thoughts, s'il vous plait....

Absolutely ridiculous!  How can you teach without knowing or using a student's name.  I just finished teaching 75 students in Summer School and I prided myself on learning their names very quickly.  Most of these kids are non-descript in their big Public High Schools, I work in a small private school, so when they get their name called after being in my class for one week, shock and surprise, the teacher knows who I am!

Additionally, when I use a student's name, I am calling on that individual to be responsible for his or her work.  Without personalization, students believe that they can sneak past the teacher without being noticed.  Most of the kids would rather blend into the wall than be called out for not doing their work or sleeping.  I had one older boy say to me, stop using my name, leave me alone. He was a chronic sleeper and when he did not close his eyes, he was an expert at sleeping with his eyes open, just staring into space.  One day, he wrote me a letter of apology during an essay test.

Instead of writing his essay, he wrote that he had a personal problem that prevented him from working that day.  He got a 0.  Kids who attend big schools get away with too much because teachers don't use names enough!   

mrerick's profile pic

mrerick | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted on

The combination of "my bad" and extra curricular activites brings to the surface the one saying I HATE hearing during one of my football practices - and it directly relates to this lack of accountability as well.  Whenever one of my players makes the same mistake for the 40th time and a coach gets after him a little bit, we always have some teammates that say, "It's ok."  Drives me crazy!!  How can doing something wrong over and over and over be "ok" for anybody?  I often ask my quarterbacks why they don't tell their linemen it's "ok" when they miss a block if they're telling other teammates it's "ok" when a mistake is made.  Funny how getting hit pretty hard because of a buddy's mistake makes it not "ok" in a hurry.

In response to timbrady - I think education has always worked in this similar fashion.  This current trend came about on the tails of corporal punishment.  People figured teachers were being too hard on kids, so, in classic overcompensation, we now have to be too soft.  Sooner or later, people will realize we're being too soft on the kids and the pendulum will swing back.  I doubt it will swing all the way back to corporal punishment, but it will swing far enough to place accountability back on the student instead of the teacher.  The other thing that would really help this out is having more parents become better parents, but there's an entirely different conversation!

linda-allen's profile pic

linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

Too true!!! And have you noticed that "my bad" is never said with any sense of regret or apology? It's just a throwaway expression. Teaching is probably one of the most dangerous professions because we always have to be careful of what we say and do! Another example: I'm the yearbook adviser at my school. Yesterday afternoon, we took pictures of this year's football team. I used to teach middle school, and this year's seniors were my first 7th graders. I teased one of them that I can't believe he's a senior--he should still be an 8th grader. I worried all night that he would take that the wrong way and think I had criticized his intelligence. I just had to track him down today and make sure he understood that I just can't believe he has grown up so fast! Sheesh!!

timbrady's profile pic

timbrady | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

School is a microcosm of the world, and the world seems to have decided that the concept of blame is obsolete ... at least when it applies to "me."  The mother mentioned above seems unable to believe that her son could be capable of misbehaving, or if he is capable, someone else (in this case the teacher) should save him from himself.  This is clearly seen in a subtle change in our language.  I can't tell you have often I've heard "My bad" mentioned in the last year or so.  It has replaced "My fault" --- and they are very different expressions.  One assumes responsibility (fault), the other, much like the passive voice, doesn't point at responsibility.

I wish I could be as certain as mreick that this is going to change.  Why should the school be any different than the world?  How are children to accept reponsibility when their parents don't?

In this world, I think a student stands out when he/she stands up and owns her/her behavior ... for better or worse.  If we do not make it clear that we expect this from them, we are doing them an injustice.  Our bad :)

mrerick's profile pic

mrerick | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted on

I call this the dodgeball syndrome because it all started with out-lawing games like dodgeball in the physical education classroom that have obvious winners and losers.  I'm certain this is just the educational swing of the times.  By the time today's younger teachers are tomorrow's older teachers, it will have changed again...that's just the nature of the profession.

kwoo1213's profile pic

kwoo1213 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted on

Wow.  That is scary. Fairly soon, teachers are not going to be able to look at their students and they'll have to teach them with their backs to the class LOL.  Can you tell I'm a bit miffed about this LOL?  I think it is ridiculous to think that teachers would not be abled to call students by name.  Jeepers!!!!!

linda-allen's profile pic

linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

Well, my conservative-minded friends would say this is just one more sign of the apocalypse. I have to wonder if that kind of depersonalization has more to do with how litigious we are than it has to do with being sensitive to people's feelings. My district's new school year started this week with faculty meetings and inservices. We were warned to be extremely careful about how we write discipline forms. If two students fight, we cannot mention that Johnny got into a fight with Billy. We have to say that Johnny fought another student. The district recently settled a lawsuit with a parent who sued because her son got into a fight with another boy. The teacher was at her appointed post, but the parent thought she should still have prevented the fight. It doesn't matter that her son is a bully!

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