In school there are lots of people, hundreds of them. We know them, well we know most of their names. How well do we actually know? How much do they know about us? Does it matter?
Knowing a name is definitely a good start, the UNCRC article 7 says that all children have the right to a name. I can’t say I know every child in our school’s name – yesterday I said to one little boy that I confused him with his friend and perhaps he should have it written on his head so I didn’t forget. It was a joke. Rule 1: don’t joke with 5 year olds about their name. He came back later, you haven’t written it yet, you might forget I’m Sam. We decided a post it note on his jumper was better than me actually writing on him. His name was important but how much more do I know about Sam? Not much. If I did I would then not struggle with his name or confusing him with Martin.
I have over the last few months discovered some amazing facts about some of our children, one who is a good trumpet player, one who has far more siblings than I was aware of, those who play different sports. Knowing this means I can ask them something specific about themselves and who doesn’t like feeling that someone is interested in you, as a person?
It is the same with colleagues, I have been surprised to find that one teacher has teenage children (they don’t look old enough!), another likes running, another cycling. We don’t necessarily need to know everything, we don’t need to be best friends but just knowing a little bit helps us all understand each other a bit better.
Some schools I have worked in have made it almost a mission to stop children knowing anything about staff, especially first names, but I don’t mind. I don’t need the children to know too much but just a few facts, I am married, I am a mother, my first name helps them to realise I am a person too. Teaching involves relationships and trust, to have this we need to know each other.
This week I am going to make a concerted effort to find out more about Sam and Martin so that they don’t need post its for me to tell them apart.