Some teens are a lot like Rumplestiltskin – they seem to take joy in causing misery, but you can strip away their power by knowing and using their names.

Rita Pierson’s TED Talk, as mentioned in this week’s video:

Teach on, everyone!

Join the conversation! 8 Comments

  1. Laura!!! Love your videos. I’ve got a Mackenzie and a MaddieGrace in one of my classes that I continuously mix up! I know which is which, but am forever saying the wrong name. We joke about it, but….I’m now convicted. I’m gonna get those names right!

    Also, wondering if you just video tape in car with your phone and if so, how do you add the extras in ( like the pix of the Ted talk)? Working hard this year to increase knowledge of technology and how it can be a benefit to the classroom

    Thanks for all ya do to inspire!
    Wendy b


  2. Thanks, Wendy. And know I’m right there with you, forever haunted by the year I continuously messed up a Rohan/Rohit pair in my 6th period class. As for taping, I film on my iPhone and then add the effects/images with iMovie on my laptop. Some folks binge-watch Netflix shows on the weekend; I goof around with video editing software until I figure out how to make it do what I want it to do. Yeah, I’m a nerd. 🙂


  3. This! I bet my kids that I will know all of their names by the end of the first week. If I get one name or pronunciation incorrect, they all get a piece of candy! Thank you for these videos. They are helpful for a newish teacher like me!


  4. Ooh…you’re good, Rachel. I give myself to the end of the second week before I break out the bag of candy apologies. 🙂


  5. Laura-invaluable classroom mangagement technique, often overlooked! (Not to mention, just a good people skill, as evidenced by your admin. story!) Thanks for the reminder that even a casual interaction can be meaningful for the student. At this point in the school year, I needed that. And yes! Please pronounce names correctly; it just matters! It is not unusual for me to have a student repeat his name several times over that first week, just so I get it right.


  6. Oh yes, Stacey, pronunciation is important, too. Your note reminds me of a moment from the end of last year with one of my students. Not really a classroom management issue because the girl I’m thinking of is sweet as sugar, but during the last week of school she came to me privately and asked me how to spell her name (her heritage is East Indian) so that white people would pronounce it correctly. She was thinking of having her name legally changed because she was tired of correcting everyone’s pronunciation. She also told me only two of her six teachers actually even tried to pronounce it and the other four never called on her by name. I’d include her name here, but she’s still a student on my campus and I wouldn’t want her to feel embarrassed. My bigger point, though: Does that student feel loved and respected by our staff? Not really – we can’t even get her name right. Sad but true story.


  7. I heard Rita speak in person at a Ruby Payne “Understanding Poverty” workshop years ago. She was incredible; so funny, so full of personality, and so engaging. We actually ended up getting a DVD of several of her talks on DVD for staff. Here is a link: (might be able to find free versions on YouTube.)


  8. Thanks for the link, CWE! I never saw her live, but can imagine the electricity she could create in a room. What a sparkplug! And I was so sad to hear that she’d passed because it seemed like she was just starting to get the platform/attention she deserved.


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high school English, Uncategorized