What’s in a name?

If the first thing that pops into your mind after reading this title is Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet, then you are not alone.  In the play, Juliet questions “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell so sweet.”  Juliet is implying that Romeo’s family name, Montague means nothing and they should be together.

I disagree with Juliet.  I think a person’s name means everything.   When you are having a conversation and someone’s name comes up, you immediately think about the characteristics and values that individual possesses.

You may have experienced being in an unfamiliar place and hear your name called.  All of the sudden you might feel more welcome, more known.  The opposite is true when you hear your name and you turn to see who was calling for you and they were referring to a different “Brian”.   Talk about a total let down.

I have witnessed the positive power of a name right here in the hallways of our school.   A student with hunched shoulders, head down, and dragging feet walking down the hallway will quickly stand a little taller and walk with joy from hearing the words, “Good morning, Stephanie!”

I have seen a child sitting alone in the farthest area of the field, head in their lap,  turn into an energetic athlete playing soccer upon hearing the words from a classmate, “Hey Sam, would you like to play soccer with us?”  I’m sure you have experienced the positive “name” effect as well.

I love the quote, “Once a Trinity student, always a Trinity student.”  Each Trinity student has a name and I challenge everyone to learn the names of as many of our students as possible.  I guarantee it will make a positive impact on you and our Trinity community.  Once you know a child’s name, you will be more willing to interact and build a lasting relationship with them.  If we stretch ourselves to learn five additional student’s names, then each student at Trinity School will have one more adult taking an interest in them.  For a child, there is no better feeling than someone caring about them.  Let’s do our part and make sure each student feels special at Trinity.

You may be reading this post and thinking to yourself “I’m out, I am horrible at remembering names.”  So, here are a few helpful hints:

  • Review last year’s year book, try to memorize photos and names
  • Review a substitute binder, they have updated photos and names
  • Read Forbes article, The Five Best Tricks To Remember Names by Kristi Hedges.

Learner, Thinker, Writer: Brian Balocki serves the Trinity School community as a lead Physical Education Teacher

6 thoughts on “What’s in a name?

  1. This makes me think of Ginny Perkinson who seems to know every child at Trinity School. It also reminded me of my cooperating teacher who told me the first day, “Know the children’s names as fast as you can and say them often. They will appreciate it, and you will have fewer issues when you can call them by name.” Good advice.

    I also like that your post points out how motivating calling someone by name can be.

  2. Brain Brian,
    You are SO right! Since my move back to the UED hallways I have tried to learn more names — and it make a huge difference in them and in me! I even get more hugs! I am one of those people –terrible with names but good with faces. I am trying — one day and one child at a time!

  3. As a Trinity parent, I want to thank you for this post and for the effort. It means the WORLD to my kindergartner when other teachers besides her day-to-day teachers know her name, and more than that, it validates my positive feelings about where we chose to send her to school! It’s especially nice when a teacher opens the carpool door in the morning and greets my child by name, and with a smile. Great post!

  4. It’s lovely to see someone we know is masterful in his professional practice- building lifelong wellness in our students- also leverage his interpersonal gifts- knowing EVERYONE’s names- AND reference literature while writing a beautiful and motivating piece. You are a man of many talents, Balocki!

  5. Oh, Brian, what a lovely goal. You are so right about hearing your name and the lift you get from it. Thanks for inspiring me to help others have that same feeling.

  6. I absolutely love this post. It is SO true and important for us to remember! It also applies to adults– when teachers see each other in the hallway and call each other by name, it makes a difference! Thanks for this. 🙂

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