Sunday, July 29, 2012


This week, I'm asked to discuss some conflicts and strategies that help me manage or resolve the conflicts. I've got a great example. At the beginning of each new school year, my co-workers and I go through each child's folder. One thing we look at is the child's preferred name. The child could go by his middle name or even have a nickname. My co-workers and I view this very differently. I believe if the child goes by A.J. then in class he should be called A.J. It is what he is used to--it's his first school experience and we want the child to feel secure in class. My co-workers believe this is harmful and want to use the name Adam (first name). They want him to know his first name--without the nickname. I understand he will need to learn to spell his name--but before we get to that point lets call him something he's familiar with. Regardless, I usually do not battle this decision--just give my opinion. I let them know how I feel--we do this every year! This year I decided to use the 3 r's we have learned about: respectful, reciprocal, responsive. I listen to their reasoning--it appears it may be a cultural difference. I listen with my full attention without becoming defensive to our new students and their preferred names. I reciprocate their feelings--I give and take-- and then I respond. I respond with why I feel strongly about this. I express my concerns of a child not knowing his full name--only his preferred name. I explain that this child may need the comfort of hearing his preferred name. I am met with defensiveness and reasons why this is wrong, but I stand firm in my opinion. Sure, we may differ on the opinion of this, but I have learned that by following the 3 r's I don't feel personally hurt by their decision. (I don't know why I take it personally :).

This class is really help me become a better communicator! I can see great change in my communication styles!!


Ginny said...

I have mixed emotions on your area of conflict. I do think we should teach children their full name early on. I am named Virginia but go by Ginny. This is my example, I also have a cousin named Virginia and we are the same age. When I was in Kindergarten I knew my name and knew how to spell it. Both of us had grandmothers who were teachers. They did not feel that it was important in her home for her to learn how to spell Virginia or even be called Virginia, so she only knew Ginny as well as how to spell it. I on the other hand knew both. I can remember as she does because we talked about it later, the family teased her because she did not know how to spell Virginia in first grade and I did. I have always felt bad about that. Interestingly enough now 30 something years later she has decided to go by Virginia. It is good to allow children to be called what they are used to, but at the same time I believe they need to learn their given name as well. I'm glad you were able to use the 3 R's in helping you to work with your colleagues better on this issue. It is a tough one. Maybe you could work with a compromise as well. Maybe calling the roll using their given name yet calling them by the name they are use to hearing. This could help them get use to hearing the other name.

Jamie Reid said...

I agree with you about the child needing to know their given name; it is important, but maybe not something that needs to be tackled on the first few days of school. In establishing an environment where the children feel safe, calling them by something that they are called at home may be the key to allowing them to transition into your classroom with ease and a comfortable feeling. I think that you handled the situation the same way that I would have.

Thanks for sharing!