A few days back (or maybe more, I have no idea) I read some comments on a post in an SLP group about using names for kids. Specifically, the word ‘kiddo’. I read people horribly disgusted by the use of the word, and those defending it. I had a pretty strong internal reaction, but in my 30’s I’ve learned to step back and think before speaking. Being a passionate person, this has always been a real weakness for me, but the words I read really made me reflect. So much that, I’ve continued to think about it and felt the need to write this post.
I thought about how I use the words kiddo, peanut, princess, handsome, and even pumpkin head, to refer to the children in my life, even my own. Even the ones who aren’t my students. Forgive my memory, but I can’t remember the third grader’s name in the classroom that I pull from once a week, but when he says “Hi Ms. Alcorn!”, I feel compelled to respond to him and it probably will be “hey kiddo!”. I was horrified at the thought that that would make me less than good at my job in the eyes of some other people. Other SLPs. I felt defensive. I hate that feeling. I love my students so very very very much. I respect them, their families, and their future. I call them names out of nothing but love. I think they know that. They giggle, some older ones roll their eyes and smile, but I am confident that each one of them know that I am a person who they know loves them.
It makes me incredibly sad that we have so many battles to face as school SLPs, that we spend any time arguing over the use of a word, that I’m quite positive no one uses in a derogatory way. We ALL love our students. It’s why we do the job. So my use of the word kiddo or pumpkin head doesn’t really matter.
I challenge you to encourage your fellow SLPs, your fellow special education teachers, and your staff today. Bring positivity to work today. Our jobs, as public school employees are difficult enough and it’s so easy to get bogged down in the dumb stuff. It doesn’t matter how we show our love to our students, as long as we show it. And our peers need that support just as much as our kids do. Kiddo.