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My Name; My Identity

supportthecampaignThere’s a new campaign afoot.

And it is finally formal backing for what ELL teachers have been asking teachers to do since forever: Just say the students’ names correctly.

The first video I made this school year also was about this very topic, because it’s so important.

I went on my own campaign last year, asking our multilingual liaisons (the people who help us communicate between school and home) to let people know how names happen in other cultures.

It all started because a dear friend mistook two Nepali-speaking Burmese for siblings. They both had the last name “Gurung.” But what she didn’t know is that there are only about 100 Nepali surnames; everybody fits in that realm. This system identifies caste, it suggests occupation and religion, and it also carries with it an expectation of behavior, good and bad.

Interested? You can see the name videos I did here, as well as all the others I sent out to my district colleagues during my tenure as ELL content area specialist.

The pledge that the Santa Clara School District is asking people to take is pretty simple. You agree to do this:

  • Show respect to others’ names and identities in schools by pronouncing students’ names correctly
  • Be a model for students by sharing information and resources about showing respect to others’ names and identities
  • Spread the word about the importance of respecting others’ names and identities
  • Share my name story on social media
  • Be proud of who I am and celebrate our differences

And then you get a cool certificate you can print out and hang all over the school to start a trend in your own school.

My trend starts Monday. How about yours?

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