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Addressing our Students with their Names Properly – A Forgotten Essential

Su Fian

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Do teachers have absolute power in the classroom? Draconian style?

Is it beneficial for our learners or can it be a detrimental cause for learning in the classroom?

A mix of both would be ideal. While we want to have order and routines in our classrooms, it is especially good to have a conducive environment where everyone is free to voice out their opinions and perspectives in a safe and inviting manner.

I personally like to share this old but gold video by Key and Peele. It’s one of their first few biggest hits – the Substitute Teacher. We call them Relief Teacher in Singapore.
A Relief Teacher is basically and more commonly a temporary staff who is assigned relief classes to cover absent permanent teachers on leave. They are paid by the day, about $65-$90 a day depending on their highest level of academic qualifications.

Students love relief teachers. This means free time and opportunity to break away from typical mundane routines from their boring teachers. On another side of the story, students can also hate relief teachers. This means unproductive time and unfacilitated learning from their permanent teacher.

Watch Key & Peele's video on the Substitute Teacher.

Points of Discussion (with students)

  1. What is it about the teacher in the video do you like about?
  2. What is it about the teacher in the video do you dislike about?
  3. Do you understand what he’s talking about most of the time?
  4. Do you think he is fair in punishing his students?
  5. How would you react and respond in a better way if your teacher mispronounced your name wrongly?
  6. Are all teachers perfect?

While we want a full duplex state of mutual understanding with our students, we should always remind ourselves that addressing our students by their names is of utmost importance. Can’t go wrong with this!

Calling a student boy or girl doesn’t cut it anymore. In fact, it is a big sign of disrespect. I remember a teacher calling me boy the entire year and not putting in enough effort in small things like remembering my name as a student back then. It was disgusting. It was de-motivating and worse than words of doom and gloom from any teacher. It was that sense of unacknowledgement.

So don’t start teaching your subjects before you even know your students’ names. !

Dear Class,

We tutor educators want to treat you with respect and want you to know that when we pronounce your name incorrectly, we do not mean it. Sometimes, you need to tell and be transparent with us if we have mispronounced your name wrongly.

Why? Simply because we do not know and we are not Professor X mutants who can read your minds.

Share with us your concerns and let us work with you to make school a better place for you. We want to be there during your difficult times only so that you would invite us sincerely to your success in the future be it little or big.

Mr. TutorEducator

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