Elementary teachers have on average 24 students. Middle school and high school teachers with a class size of 25, with 6 classes a day, have roughly 150 names to learn. That’s a lot of names! It’s important for a teacher to know their students by name. It creates a psychologically safe environment for your students when you get to know them. That relationship starts with a name like most relationships do. Here are a few ways to remember all those names.
Public speaking is an important life skill. A good way to help build that skill would be in the form of a brief introduction from each student. You can start with yourself. Tell the class an amusing story and a little about yourself to put them at ease. They can tell you and the class their name and an interesting fact about themselves, which will help you remember by associating their name with a face and a story.
A student hand out asking them their name, what they like, how they feel about their school and education, and their goals, is a good way to get to know your students and get their names down. It will also give insight into each of your students, and it could be the start of a good classroom discussion about why they are in school, the different goals they have shared and what they hope the coming year will be like for them. You can also share what your goal for the year is, and how you hope to make the year great for each of them.
Make a Game of it
Go around the room and have each person recite their name. Then go around again telling each student recite the names back. The first person to get everyone’s names right gets a prize. The repetition of hearing the names and trying to win a game will usually help you and your students get everyone’s names down.
Try to always say a student’s name whenever possible. When you don’t use your students’ names all that often, you’ll forget. This will also help you remember to reference even the quiet students, making sure you are including as many of your students as often as possible.
On the first day of class, have each of your students create a poster or collage that relates to them. You can use these posters to decorate your room. While they’re making their posters, you’ll have time to go around the room and introduce yourself with each student.
The key to getting off to a good start to the school year is to take time to learn your students’ names, their likes, dislikes, and goals. This builds a positive learning space that will pay off throughout the school year.
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