Friday, June 24, 2022

Ace, Not Josue

On the first day of summer school, I gave each of the students an index card. I asked them to write their full name in the corner. And then in the center, I asked them to write the name they wanted me to call them by in class. 

Mostly, they wrote their first names. A couple wrote a shortened version of their first names (think Nick instead of Nicholas). But a couple had a different name they wanted to be called. 

The boy's first name was Josue. He had written "Ace" in the center of his card. 

Okay, then. 

I wrote the preferred name on the seating chart. And I've been calling him Ace the whole time.

On the second day of school, I got an instructional aide. She worked in the ELD classes during the school year, so she knew many of the students. She's been doing most of the grading for me (as I've been busy keeping the classes busy with lessons and stuff). 

Last Friday, realizing that I was never going to get to it, I asked the aide to grade the first assignment I gave them, an "About Me" exercise. I asked a lot of general questions in it about who they are and what they like. 

Third period. About half way through class. 

Aide: "You want to be called Ace? I've been calling you Josue all year. Why did you never tell me you wanted to be called Ace?" (The tone was kind, like she was upset at herself for calling him a name he did not like for a year.) 

Apparently Ace is his name at home. For some reason, he never spoke up. 

I'm not sure when I picked up the card trick, but I've been using it in similar situations for a few years now. The kiddos will write their name on a card, but they won't speak up to say, "call me xxx". I mean, a few will, but the vast majority won't. 

The aide then gave me a list of students who had different preferred names. I looked over the list. I knew them all. They had written them on the cards. 

This is why I keep doing the index cards. (Well, that and I use them to call on students randomly.)

23 comments:

  1. not sure why someone that wanted to be called one name, went by another....I am Pamela and of course I always wanted to be called Pam. But that is a big difference from being called a nickname.

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    1. I think Ace is his middle name. Perhaps there's more than one Josue at home.

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  2. Good idea. Reminds me of my Chinese colleagues. They all get t pick their name when they take English. I work with Jason, Steven, Todd, as well as a Tiger and a Christmas.

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    1. It makes it easier to call them what they like.

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  3. That is a good idea. A lot of people don't like or use the names they were given.

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  4. First off, love 'Ace'. That's a cool name. Secondly, I really love that activity. I can't even imagine doing something like that when I was a kid. It's nice to know that the youngest generation is being granted more autonomy.

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    1. I liked "Ace" too ;) Not his name. I use blog aliases for the kiddos.

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  5. That's a good trick with the cards.

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    1. I'm not sure where I picked it up, but I'm glad I did. (I see so many interesting things in all of the classrooms I cover. I adopt practices that I like.)

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  6. Those cards are a wonderful idea.

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    1. There are lots of great ideas out there. I just pay attention and "borrow" the ones I like.

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  7. My boyfriend goes by his middle name. So I get it.

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  8. (Red here, Google doesn't recognize me.)
    That is a great idea! At our new school, one of our Vietnamese staff introduced himself with his Vietnamese name, but then followed with "You can call me Martin". Both my husband and I insist we will use his proper name, as long as he would correct us when we say it wrong. Now I think maybe I should ask him if he would actually *prefer* we use his chosen English name.

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    1. It's a good question. When it comes to "English" names, if the person has just given up on us with regards to us saying their name right, then of course we should try to say their name right. But it's hard to say what someone prefers and what they don't.

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  9. This reminds me. I know someone, who, when she was a child, began liking the name she was being called at home so much that she developed a dislike for her real /official name. She then successfully persuaded her parents to change her official name to the one she was being called at home. She was then called by that name at home as well.

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  10. If I had to change my name, I would be so confused what to change to

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    1. Most of the students just go by their actual name. It's only a handful where this applies.

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  11. What a great idea, but why did the aid feel the need to sorta jump him. All she had to do was just start calling him Ace and let it go. I think many kids aren't comfortable enough around adults to speak up

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    1. She'd known him for a year and she didn't know. She didn't really "jump him". It's hard to convey tone in a blog post sometimes, so you'll have to take my word that the way she said it sounded more like she was sad that he hadn't said anything and she hadn't called him by his preferred name.

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  12. That card trick sounds like a good one! We gave our sons names that could be shortened if they wanted - nicknames are a big thing here. We call them their full names at the moment as they haven't settled on a nickname, but I've had a few people ask me what the boys prefer to be called. Even when the kids are standing next to me! I always tell them to ask the boys :)

    Hope you have been having a good weekend :)

    Away From The Blue

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    1. I've noticed a lot of kiddos nowadays do prefer their whole names. And that's actually good information so I don't inadvertently shorten it.

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  13. Ace is a cool name.
    Those cards are a marvelous idea, Liz.

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