The lasting impact of white teachers who mispronounce minority student names


Taking the attendance at the beginning of class may seem a routine if not mundane task to many educators. But to students, their name can be a powerful link to their identity. Pronouncing students names correctly – during attendance, a classroom activity, or any other time of the school day—should always be a priority for any classroom teacher.

Names holds ancestral and historical significance for many minority, immigrant, and English learning students. Names bring stories, which students are often forced to adapt to an “Americanized” context.

That transition, however, is often painful and forces many students to take on a name that is not their own.