Once you start getting to know students, school counseling referrals will flow, connections will be made, and trust will be built. Relational capital is one of your most valuable currencies in this career and remembering names will cast huge strides for you.
Here are 10 quick tips for remembering students’ names:
1. If your students wear IDs, subtly get a good glance at their name on their ID.
2. Ask them how to spell their name for you (use this one in hopes that it’s not something super embarrassingly easy to spell).
3. Try to sneak a peak at their name on a worksheet if you’re in a classroom or catch them writing their name on a flipbook or an activity they’re doing in a small group of yours!
4. Ask them to remind you of their first OR last name (whichever one you think will trigger the other name for you).
5. Study names in the yearbook or in your computer database system if it has pictures.
6. Review the class list/roster before you go into a classroom lesson. Names and faces (if you have pictures) will be fresh in your brain.
7. Quiz yourself if you have bus or cafeteria duty. Stand outside of your office as students are walking in in the morning and see how many students you can name in your head. If you’re in a classroom teaching or observing, practice naming students in your head while they’re working on something.
8. Use their names as often as possible once you learn it. Repetition is key!
9. Endure and persist in a time where wearing masks and not being in school full-time is the new norm. This has got to be one of the hardest parts of forming relationships– definitely a barrier to learning names!
10. Just MAKE AN EFFORT! If you’re struggling, be honest that you’re still learning. Have a meaningful conversation with the student to trigger a memory of who they are to you!
Students notice if and when you care enough to (at least try) to remember their name. Once you start really committing student names to memory, you will gain so much momentum in your relationships at school!
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