15 March 2011

what's in a name?

You may have realized by now that I love to abbreviate words. I also love calling my students by their nicknames, because they're often really interesting. A Yuseth might become Juicy, a Sergio might go by Serge, and so on.

Of course, I always ask my students' permission to use their nicknames as part of my getting to know you routine at the beginning of each year. Several years ago, I noticed that a student named Oliver* had left the nickname section on his student survey blank.

Me: Oliver, do you have any nicknames?
Oliver: Yes, miss. (long silence)
Me: Really? Would you like me to call you by your nickname?
Oliver: Yes, miss. (long silence)
Me: Um, ok....what is it?
Oliver: You can call me...Olive Garden.

Olive Garden, got it. Because that is obvs a human name and is so much shorter than your original Oliver. We met in the middle and agreed to use "Ollie" in class. He continued to go by Olive Garden on the playground for the rest of the year.

Maybe I should be more clear on what I mean by nickname in the future.

*actual name used with permission


  1. I wish my name was Olive Garden. Also, Sarah and I found this quite humorous.

  2. A student once asked me to call him "Big Sperm." After that, I stopped specifically asking about nicknames :)

  3. @Sean: don't we all wish we could have such a great nickname?

    @afinley: omgsh, Big Sperm...I don't even know how I would have responded to that!