Thanks to 3 years of working as a Day Camp Counselor for 70+ 6-8 year-olds, I’m generally good with names. After all, how can you reprimand someone if you’re unsure whether they are “Roderick” or “Ronte?”
Of course, there are plenty of times when you draw a complete blank. Which, fortunately for them, allows them to avoid punishment (Note to parents: If you never want your kid to be reprimanded, make their name as many syllables as possible. Even better, simply make it up).
Luckily, you can slide by without panic. Unfortunately, I was not so fortunate today.
I was talking to one student about the book he was reading, when his classmate/friend sitting next to him asked me, ever so bluntly, “Do you know this kid’s name?”
I was slightly sure his name was “Nick,” but I definitely needed a lifeline to double check. But did I pause? Nope, I answered “Nick”—so confidently you’d have thought I was answering my own name.
Other Student: “No! His name is Nate.”
Me: “Er…uh…I knew it started with an N.”
OS: “You don’t know his name!”
Me: “Er…uh…I’m so sorry!”
I was both embarassed and perplexed—I could have sworn his name was Nick. I consulted the handy seating chart in the front of the room and low-and-behold: His name actually was Nick! Apparently Nick and Sean (whose name I did not know pre-seating chart examination—thank goodness the question didn’t come from Nick), had decided to pull a fast one on me. They created fake names to test my recall ability.
So I passed this test (barely): My confidence collapsed as soon as Sean declared me wrong. But what’s a teacher to do if they draw a blank during this pesky pop quiz? So far, my only “technique” is the very one teachers speak out against: Peek at your peer’s paper.