Remember my Name

I work part-time at an elementary school during the school year.  I work with small groups of students who are referred to me for social skills and school adjustment issues.  This is a job I practically fell into a few years ago, and I absolutely LOVE it!  There is an energy around the school that is addictive, like that morning cup of coffee.  OK, I still need the morning cup of coffee (maybe even MORE than I used to) but humor me here.

Due to the nature of my job, I have the opportunity to work with many different students throughout the year, from many different classes and all grades, kindergarten-5th.  This past school year, I was working at two different sites, which exposed me to many more children than in previous years.

This makes a simple trip to Target or the grocery store more interesting.

I am WAY more likely to see a kid from school now, and not always one of “my” students.  Since I go to classrooms to pick up my students for their half hour sessions, the WHOLE CLASS sees me (and knows my name).  I, however, do not know all of THEIR names.

This can be a problem.

So I have adopted the somewhat casual, easy method of dealing with all of those KIDS WHO HAVE NO NAME.  Girls are Sweetie.  Boys are Bud.  Maybe Dude, if they are 4th/5th graders.

I DO know the names of any kids who have been in my groups, even if I have to dig for it a bit.  This past school year, I saw over 70 students.  But all of their classmates?  Now that would be hard.  So Sweetie and Bud seem to have been the classmates of many, many of my students.  This has worked so far.

Until I visited the grocery store a few weeks ago.

And there is a sweet little girl (Sweetie?) staring at me, open-mouthed, amazed that I actually SHOP FOR FOOD and don’t live off the scraps from the cafeteria, roll out my sleeping bag each night in the library, and brush my teeth in the girl’s bathroom.  And she says, “Hi, Mrs. K!”

“Hi Sweetie!”

“Don’t you remember my name?”


“Sure I do, sweetie, how has your summer been?”

“You don’t remember my name.”

“How could I forget your name?”  Easily, apparently.  Especially since I didn’t know it in the first place.

And then, like a small gift from the heavens, she shifts focus……

“Did you see Mrs. D over by the bananas?”  Mrs. D is a teacher from our school.

“No, really?  I will have to go say hi!!  Have a great summer, sweetie!”

At least I didn’t call her Bud.


  1. Oh, that is funny. I've always wondered how teachers, or anyone that works at a school, does it, being more recognizable to kids than being able to recognize them all. Thank goodness for kids being distracted, right?

  2. Ha ha ha! That's great! I am awful – really awful – with names. I just kinda wish it was kids names that I was supposed to remember, they are easier to distract! Adults… not so much. πŸ˜›

    Thanks for visiting my blog!

  3. Whew! Close call! You know, in five years of teaching I have NEVER run into a student in the community — that's because I teach in regional programs and my students were usually bussed in from towns about 30 to 45 minutes away. I'd love to run into someone πŸ™‚

  4. Bethany @ Organic Enchilada says:

    I am horrible with names. I don't know how you teacher types do it!

    When I was young, I was always a little weirded out when I saw my teachers at school. It just didn't seem natural. πŸ™‚ I have no idea why you all insist on that shopping for food thing. Think of the poor kids' psyches!

  5. Aging Mommy says:

    I cannot remember names for the life of me, it takes me forever to do so and I cannot imagine how hard it is to remember the names of all your students. Reading your post reminded me of being a child and occasionally seeing a teacher at the fruit and vegetable or other store and being amazed that yes, they did ordinary things like shopping – I wonder why it is we assume they do not πŸ™‚

  6. You lucked out! My mom is a retired elem. teacher, but when she worked she never went to the mall closest to her school because she hated running into current and former students, and their parents.

  7. The Empress says:

    Hi, love the way your blog looks. I know, as a sunday school teacher, that I love being recognized by the kids…they look so happy to see me!!

    good one on the name thing!

  8. Mrs. Fine says:

    Ha! It's like you were inside my brain!! I like to use 'hon. That always works…but this year, I had someone tell that they weren't my 'hon. Ouch. I find that I can't go anywhere in town anymore without seeing a parent or child…I am finding, however, that names are becoming more difficult because I've now taught the brothers, sisters, and cousins…with the faces running together. I'm sticking with 'hon! Thanks for the eerily familiar laugh this morning!!

  9. That is too cute! Kids are smart cookies! lol

  10. I sub in our school system here, and have the same problem, makes me feel like crap! I just call them all Angel, esp. the 'bad' ones!

  11. My dad used to always say that he only remembered the "bad" students. I dated several guys who had him for a teacher and whenever they would ask if he remembered them, my dad would say that he didn't, but then he would tell them that that meant that they must have been a good student.

  12. Karen Mortensen says:

    Love your story. That is why I am glad that I don't live in the same town I teach in. YOur job sounds wonderful. Good for you.

  13. Boy you sure got lucky there! lol…its funny cause I am really good with names but that many kids I probably would have called her sweetie too! lol. I bet you went home and looked her up though in case you saw her again!

  14. Hello! I'm Kate. says:

    I love it! I would never be able to remember all those names!

  15. Sarah Garb says:

    That kid ran into TWO teachers at the grocery store at once? I'm always worried I'll run into a student or parent as I'm reaching for a box of Tampax or have on really scrubby, comfy errands clothes!

  16. Great system! She was a persistant little one, huh? I used to run into clients out in stores, It was often akward.

  17. Michelle @ Flying Giggles says:

    This use to happen to me all the time! I worked as the Child Development Supervisor for our local school district and anytime I went anywhere, I would run into students. Usually it was okay, until one time. My husband and I were hosting a party and we were at the store buying all the drinks. We had cases of beer, bottles of hard liquor and ice. Not a very good impression…lol.

  18. Hahaha! How funny! Lucky for you she shifted focus, huh? I don't live anywhere near my work, so I never run into kids from there. Thank goodness!

  19. Lula Lola says:

    I'm a "sweetie/buddy" girl too! I am terrible with names, and hardly ever use people's name unless I know them really well.
    I'm always scared that I'll screw them up. I don't know how you keep the kids in your class all straight! Names are the hardest, I don't forget a face, but am terrible with names!

  20. Essie the Accidental Mommy says:

    I don't know how teachers/school people do it! It's amazing to me. Whenever we have seen a teacher out, I am ready to prompt them with my childs name but not once have I needed too. Maybe my kids are that memorable. That is not good, lol!