You say Me, when you say my name.

There's a lot of nots in me.

I know I'm not the smartest kid in class.

I'm not your favorite student, especially when I say, "I don't know" and "Miss, what eez thees?" really loud with that funny accent so my friends laugh.

I'm not good-looking, not skinny, and not careful when I walk.

There's a lot of a lots in me.

I break the rules a lot.

I speak too loud a lot.

I forget to raise my hand a lot.

I don't bring my books a lot.

So when you say my name, you know, that way you say it...mad. My mom and dad do it, too, so, I'm kind of used to it.

Some bigger words I looked up are angrily, with exasperation, annoyance, sarcasm, disgust, hatred, repulsion, venom, vitriol, and self-righteousness.

Maybe those big teacher words help you understand better.

You say my name a lot.

Today, you said it 18 times in class. 

But I have 6 periods to go to. I have 6 teachers.

Today, all of my teachers said my name about a hundred times.

but no one said it nice.

There's a lot of maybes in me.

Maybe if you only said my name when I did something good, even something small, I don't know.

Maybe I'd pay more attention to when you said it.

Maybe if you only said my name when you smiled hello at me, I'd feel better.

Maybe if every teacher only ever said my name in a nice way, I'd do better.

I mean, you can still tell me to stop doing my stupid stuff that I do for attention, just maybe don't say my name? 
You can kind of look at me and then say whatever, like "Raise your hand." I'll know you mean me.

I guess that's dumb, never mind.

I'm just a kid, what do I know? I'm still trying to figure stuff out.

but, my name is me.

You say me when you say my name.

Mindy Keller-Kyriakides and former students wrote Transparent Teaching of Adolescents, a step-by-step guide to managing a high-school classroom.


  1. Definitely something I need to work on. I'm trying. I know I tend to pick the same 3 or 4 names because they are the loudest or I hear their tone more. I'm trying to make general announcements instead of calling on specific people though....trying.

    1. That's all you can do is try. It's always a work in progress for me when dealing with behavioral issues in class. Sometimes I sense myself being too strict, and I need to learn to be more flexible.

  2. For high schoolers, the general thing doesn't usually work. Consider how to use eye contact and other non-verbal attention-getting strategies. It isn't necessary to say the kid's name every time. Further, the pro-active method of ONLY saying the name accompanied by a positive something, even just the "Good morning, ___! :)" May make a difference! It's difficult to do, for sure, because you're thinking about a million other things at the same time!

  3. Very thought provoking blog post. Always careful not to embarrass a student by calling them out in front of their peers when they are behaving poorly. It happens sometimes, but I usually try to speak to an individual basis. When I do that on an individual level, it usually works out better in the long run...

    1. Thanks for commenting! I agree, speaking on an individual basis is much more effective. I wrote this after observing some 7th grade classes, with the same student in each one. Of course, I estimated the numbers, but it sure seemed like his name was used that many times. What was evident was that his name was only used in a negative way, so I thought I might suggest a strategy for changing that expectation for him. : >

      What do you think of it as a strategy for teachers? I see from your blog that you're a middle-school teacher, and I wasn't sure how it would work at that level. I've only used this strategy at the high school level. What do you think? : >

  4. I believe this strategy should be used at all levels. I teach toddlers and although they may be young, they do exhibit bad behaviour
    n poor attitude at times. Shouting back at them doesn't help much instead it is better to talk to them individually to help them understand why it's wrong. Yes, it lasts for a short while but at some point, the children will learn to behave better. As they move on to higher levels, they will eventually be better students. Teachers should exercise positive energy in their classroom and among their students. Being negative, really doesn't produce good results esp if u keep picking on 1 or 2 particular student.

  5. Definitely!! It's also something for parents to consider, too, I think. When I was growing up, my parents used my "real" name when I was in trouble. However, they used my "nickname" when they were not angry. I don't allow anyone to call me by my real name. :p