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What’s In A Name?

Educational Support Services

Katherine Aaron

Assistant Superintendent

When I was in elementary school, I can remember being excited about the first day of school because I could not wait to see my desk with my name tag and to meet my teacher who always took time to learn my name and ask me questions about myself. These interactions always made me feel welcomed and important.

It is unfortunate that this simple tradition of greeting students at the door seems to go to the wayside as students get older. However, research has shown that building positive teacher-student relationships is a highly effective student engagement strategy and decreases problem behaviors in the classroom.

According to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, close to 40% of students in the U.S. have been exposed to some form of traumatic stressor in their lives. While we can never know with any certainty the background of any given student, we can be certain that ALL students benefit from the use of trauma informed practices, the foundation of which is building caring, trusting and positive relationships.

Keys to intentionally building positive relationships:

  • Using a person’s name during a positive greeting
  • Spending individual time
  • Gathering, reviewing and remembering important information about an individual

Building relationships, whether in your classroom, in your workplace or in your private life, needs to be intentional; it doesn’t just happen. Intentionally building relationships helps people trust and feel connected to others.


Katherine Aaron
Assistant Superintendent, Student Programs and Services
San Luis Obispo County Office of Education

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