Every day that I teach, and many that I don’t, someone is likely to ask me my name. Outside the classroom, I liberally offer my name and that’s often the end of the conversation. Inside the classroom, I will provide an answer according to each location. If that sounds strange, understand that I have devised a strategy that includes allowing my class to choose my name for the day. It causes them to remember me in a unique manner.

Very often, my pronunciation of student names is corrected, often with indignation. When I return to students whom I haven’t seen for some time, they generally ask if I know their names. Most of the time I don’t – too many children to recollect.

During the day, I work hard to call on students by name. They always brighten when I do, telling me that my remembering them was important.

“What’s my name?” is another way of saying, “I am different from everyone else.” It also suggests that I was important enough to make a permanent impact on you.

As kids age, this desire for uniqueness never diminishes. It causes me to believe that we as adults maintain a desire for specific identity or distinction, not necessarily associated with specifics.

When I think about name recognition, any variation of my name or occupation is good. Oh, you’re the writer. You’re the author. Aren’t you the teacher? Because we generally want to make a positive impression on those we meet, we can extend the same courtesy or affirmation.

One possession we have that is unique in most locations we visit is our name. Honor that possession in another and you verify that they and their existences are worth treasuring.

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