Stuck in the Middle: NSMS - Where Everyone Knows Your Name
As Sam Malone knows better than anyone, "Making your way in middle school takes everything you've got." Middle school is about more than increasing academic expectations. It is also about making new friends, seeking more independence, and taking on more responsibilities for yourself: just to name a few things, all while your bodies are growing and changing at a rapid pace. So wouldn't it make it just a little easier for every 11-14 year old to go to school somewhere "where everybody knows your name?" Or at least close to everyone.
There is a huge benefit to schools being small enough that the students all feel like they belong and are not getting lost. Bigger is not always better!
One of the hardest things for me last year was that I didn't get to know all the students at North Saanich as in past years, where I knew everyone by name. It was no one's fault. We missed three weeks in the fall, and then COVID-19 hit us hard at Spring Break when I was just getting to know the kids. So this year, I am pleased to be getting to know all our students by name. But names are different than when I was a kid, and that is a good thing.
When I was a kid, I hung out with five other boys. In my group, we had Tim, Tom, Tom, Tom and Tom. I could never figure out why my parents didn't give me a better name like Tom? Of course, each Tom also had a cool nickname like Boomer or Bussy.
As I get to know the kids in our school this year, I am fascinated with the diversity and creatively of our students' names. How quickly each student's personality seems to fit their name. But it also makes it a little more challenging when you're first learning to pronounce them correctly.
Each Monday morning, I create a list of students celebrating birthdays and go over the list with our student public speakers who will be reading them out at the assembly. Last week, the pronunciations were trickier than usual. My two public speakers stumbled over a couple of the more challenging names before one of them said, "why can't parents give their children normal names that are easy to read?"
I smiled to myself and considered the irony before replying, "You know you have a unique name yourself."
"I guess," she replied, "but it is easy to pronounce."
"Your right. It only took me two years to learn how to pronounce Drishti."
She smiled and moved onto the next name.
At North Saanich Middle School, Tom, Dick, and Harry don't go here anymore. Everyone here is unique and brings something special to our building. The diversity in our school makes us a stronger community and a better place to learn. The uniqueness in their names carries over into their uniqueness in their personalities and backgrounds. And as the Cheers theme song goes, "and they're always glad you came" to North Saanich, because together you all make this a great place. A place that often feels more like a second home than a school.
Cheers! And Go Hawks!