Teacher’s Corner

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What’s in a name?

Hey y’all! What’s up teach peeps!?! So, we made it through another week! It’s been a hectic one for sure, I’ve been home with sick kiddos waiting on covid results, which-WHEW! Came back negative but we are still suffering through strep and bronchitis! It’s not been easy! I hope you all are staying safe and well!

So, this week in week 5 we went over the importance of names in African culture. But I think it is important in any culture really. Not to sound like Forrest Gump but my mama always said, “Your name will go farther than your face”. There is a lot of truth in that.

 This week’s theme is easily relatable for your older young adults, they are more apt to really understand the weight of a name, as they are greenly coming into their own.

As a teacher I would emphasize on the importance and power of a name. Not only do they tell the story of our heritage and from where we came, they sometimes have the uncanny ability to put us on a path that can only be described as preordained.

In the short story The Deep River, we see the story of a tribe who fell apart and split up over the realization of individual thought; you could really say it was an existential crisis. In this story when the conflicting tribe set out on their own, they spread out, not really belonging anywhere. They were a part of this tribe, and a part of that tribe and then part of the tribe from way over there; and in the end “the name Talaote was all they were to retain of their identity…They say that the child of their chief was named Talaote, to commemorate their expulsion from the kingdom of Monemapee” (Saadawi, Norton Anthology, p.1104).

When teaching this to your class, I think it is important to pause after that last sentiment… Does having a name carry that much weight? Is it easy to understand how yourself or a tribe could feel completely lost and possibly wind up never finding yourself again if you were to suddenly be without your family/tribe’s name? I mean everything you have been, everything and everyone you know up to this point were a part of that name.

Earth shattering right?

Other beautiful texts to include in this theme of the power of names and belonging would be: Achebe’s Chike’s School Days and Leopold Sedar Senghor’s poems: Night in Sine, Letter to a Poet, Prayer to the Masks, Letter to a Prisoner, To New York. When reading and studying any of these they make for wonderful pairing with The Deep River!

And here we are guys! Your favorite part …

Brittany’s Pop Culture Connection!

I know, I know what you’re thinking, “Which Disney movie does she have for us this week?” Well, just when you thought you knew me, here I am throwing a wrench in the whole works; it’s not Disney!

I think that a great movie to tie into this would be Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore’s 50 First Dates. It really illustrates the power of knowing who you are, who your family and your tribe is. Plus, it’s entertaining for adults and young adults as well! While Drew knows her name everyday she has to relive her life before her accident that caused long term memory loss and never really moves past that fateful day. Until Adam Sandler’s character comes along, falls in love and finds a way to help her start everyday fresh with a video of her life up until this point. Each day is a new day now for Drew and it is her village that keeps her grounded and helps her remember WHO she is; Because who is Drew without a name?

Well, this is where I leave you, it’s all I have for you guys this week! I hope you all have a stellar week and remember, “A good name is rather to be chosen than riches”. King Solomon said that, not me, but I felt it was appropriate given our theme this week!



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