You won’t find a Lupe in my classroom. You won’t find a Felipe, Margarita, José, Rosa, or even Pedro. That’s because I don’t assign “Spanish names” to students in my Spanish class. So yes, I call on Dylan, Tiffany, Chad, Brett, and Brittany.
I don’t see the “appeal” of assigning fake names to my students. The first few years I taught, I started the program so students were not accustomed to having Spanish names. When I moved schools, students wondered why they no longer chose a name like they did the previous year.
When students ask me, the conversation usually goes like this:
“Profe, why don’t we have Spanish names?”
“Do you have a ‘Math name’? Does your math teacher call you ‘Hypotenuse?”
“Ok, then. When your Math teacher gives you a ‘math name’, and your History teacher gives you a ‘history name’, then I will give you a Spanish name”
I never understood the point of having a special name just for class. I guess my first reason was to make connections with the actual student. I remember when I was in high school I only shared Spanish class with certain students. I could tell you their Spanish name, but I had no idea what their actual name was. That just seemed odd to me.
Becoming a teacher, I didn’t want to memorize twice the number of names. Call it lazy, but when I meet Danny’s mom at conferences, I want to be sure I am talking about Danny and not Pepe. And just because they are speaking Spanish, doesn’t mean they need a new name. If students go to Mexico, people aren’t going to start calling them “Marta” instead of “Madison”.
I feel this perpetuates the notion that only some people are allowed to speak the language. “Tom” can’t speak Spanish, but “Juan” can. I want my students to know that ANYONE with any name can speak the language.
The point is, your name doesn’t have to be “Spanish sounding” in order for you to speak Spanish. Britney can be the name of a Spanish speaker. It is just another unnecessary stereotype that we perpetuate by saying that because you are speaking Spanish your name must be in Spanish too.
Some teachers will argue that having Spanish names is “fun.” Some say it helps students with pronunciation of authentic names. What do you think? Do you give your students Spanish names? It’s a worthwhile discussion to have as a department. If you decide to give Spanish names, I hope it is more than just because it is “fun”, “kids like it” or because it’s “always been done.” If those were acceptable reasons, wouldn’t every subject be choosing different names?