Assigning my students new (and sometimes permanent) names

As a teacher, I assign a lot of nicknames to students, a practice that my friends and I often did as a kids. Growing up, everyone I knew had a nickname.


I also refer to students by their last names quite a bit, and these last names often become a student’s primary name as long as they are in my class, and sometimes beyond.

It can be quite surprising the first time you walk into my classroom and hear students casually call one another by their last name, but it makes me smile every time.

Today I spoke to a parent whose son is now a junior in high school. Back when he was in my third grade class, I gave him a nickname that stuck so hard that everyone in his life, including his parents, still refer to him by this name to this day.

His original name has all but disappeared.

I can’t tell you how much this makes me smile.