A Name is Power

When I started my student teaching experience, I observed classes the first two days. Although I wanted to be teaching (I’m pretty ambitious), I needed to occupy my mind because observing can be monotonous.

So I started playing the name game. When my cooperating teacher would call on a student by name, I would say name that name over and over. Then she’d say another name which I then would say over and over, adding it to the preceding name.

By the end of the class period, I would know more than half of the students’ names.

When I took over on the third day, I knew each sophomore’s name and used it as a tool of power.

No longer were they nameless faces. They were individuals with individual names. They knew I knew them.

I can’t know for sure, but I have a hunch it helped with my classroom management. If you were misbehaving or acting out, which would cause you to stop:

“Please stop talking.”


“Kelsey, please stop talking.”

There is underlying power in a name. In Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and It’s All Small Stuff, Richard dont sweatCarlson encourages readers to use names in conversation. This provides personalization and helps connect with others.

We think of names as unique to ourselves. Calling students by their names helps to make a connection with them.

I love greeting students by their names in the morning when they arrive at school. I’ll stand outside the classroom door and say, “Morning Jim. Morning Holly. Good morning Jack.” Well, not necessarily those names (because I just made those up), but you get the idea.

It’s so important to make students feel welcome at school. If teachers don’t welcome students to school, who will?