Please call me by my true names

In the beginning months of my service here, I felt the burning desire to form relationships with my kids. That’s why I’m here, right? I blurred expectations of being a charismatic, fun teacher while settling into the realities of being a first-year teacher. So, I now remember that the true work of a teacher is one in which she/he creates a space where we, the teacher and student alike, can share stories. To this point, I couldn’t begin my work of a teacher, friend, listener, mom, sister, and aunt until I pronounced correctly and memorized 360 names. And I’m not shy in asking those two second graders their names at least 10 times; I seem to always get Dayron and Dhaydon confused. In the class, on the bus, on the playground, in the “listening center” is where we exchange names, value our emotions* and our humanity to better understand each other. So, here’s to memorizing 360 names so that we may open the doors to our emotions, humanity, and compassion. Thanks to poet genius Thich Nhat Hanh for the inspiration:

My joy is like spring, so warm it makes flowers bloom in all walks of life.
My pain is like a river of tears, so full it fills the four oceans.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can hear all my cries and laughs at once,
so I can see that my joy and pain are one.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can wake up,
and so the door of my heart can be left open,
the door of compassion.

*(current lesson where I’m trying to unpack emotional intelligence to 7-year-olds in their foreign language)



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