I have noticed something these years I have been in schools, among the students, especially those who are new to me. I have discovered that if I know their names, learn them quickly, immediately…call them by them before they expect I might, the nature of our relationship changes dramatically. They become, for the most part, my help, support, even defenders. We are not locked in some strange vertical association that rarely brings about much real learning, we are comrades on a journey together towards knowledge and understanding. I do not know of many other ways that real learning well occurs.
I love to call roll in someone’s class and be smiling into the eyes of a student as I speak her name aloud. There is the magical moment of recognition, mine of the student, specific, unique, a gift, and his that I have remembered who his is, clearly a gift to me.
I am substituting this year, and as such, I have discovered something about me. I so much more enjoy that moment of recognition than the material covered, even that which I was passionate in presenting. It is that moment that makes this job matter, at least to me.