Names serve as important identifiers and carry with them hopes for a generation as well as pride in one’s culture. A name is often an extension of one’s culture or language and represents their identity. With the increasing student diversity across our nation, many students in our K-12 public schools may have uncommon or nontraditional names. Public school teachers, who are predominantly White, may find these names unfamiliar, difficult to pronounce or difficult to spell. Despite a name’s unfamiliarity, classroom teachers must have the knowledge and disposition to create a space that signals to a student that their name is respected. The purpose of this article is to share the significance of uncommon or nontraditional names and to provide classroom teachers with best practices for creating a safe and inclusive classroom which recognizes the value of a student’s name.



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