MORE STORIES from “Fighting For Ms. Rios”:
Now that my book is published and available (even for your iPad) through Amazon, I want to resurrect my blog. There are a lot of really good posts here. So I’ll highlight different stories from Fighting for Ms. Rios and connect them back to a previous post. It all comes full circle anyway.
Sometimes kids don’t know much… but they know the sound of their own name. They know it’s sacred. It gives them an identity on a crowded campus when the day-to-day grind of school life is eating them alive.
In Juvenile Hall and in the schools for our incarcerated youth that are hidden away in the back country here in San Diego, I was always pushing back on the practice of calling students only by their last name. Like they were in the army. Or prison.
Every kid has a first name– we call it their given name because somebody took the time give it to them. It is so unique, it even distinguishes them from other members of their own family. It may be common or cosmic or utter syllabic nonsense– but it is theirs– and they want us to use it. They want us to pronounce their name correctly, too– like their moms pronounce them. With respect and reverence.
Aiden is on to the adults who don’t know his name.
“My name is not honey, babe, baby doll, young man, sir, all star, big guy, hey you, you there, hon, sweetie, champ, kiddo, sport, new kid, mijo, laddie, buster, goofball, or dumbass.”
You can’t fake it. You know their names or you don’t. And knowing their names is the first step to building authentic relationships with kids you hope to teach.
“I love the sound of my name, and though I know there are a thousand other students in my school, I want you to know how to say it. My name is Aiden: little fire.”
–From THE FIRST JOURNAL: Back in Line
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