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First Name Basis with Students
Can Yield Results


-by Bill Watkins 10/4/2017


I recently subbed as an assistant P.E. teacher at an L.A. charter school.

Around me in the teaching world are mostly Ms., Mrs. and Misters trying to establish a line of respect between elders and youth.

That is not me.

The old joke is to say that “Mr. Watkins is my father,” which is fine, but truly I come from the Christian ethic of putting children first.

When I show up on the scene of educational environments, the fun and dynamism exists in connecting with and inspiring young people.  Period.

I come to serve them, not the other way around, folks.

The child’s day on campus is king; truly shape and fashion that, leave no yawning gaps between for all you Longfellow fans like me.

Reach out, shake a hand.  Equality has me giving the same type of name you give me, that’s an equal meeting.

“Hello, I’m William, Bill or Billy—what’s your name?”

We are sort of equal now, but I go further to know I am cosmically lower-ranked than the child, Matthew 18 a roadmap not only to love children but to achieve heaven.

“What can I get you?” or “How can I help you?” is the constant attitude I take as I commit to making theirs the best day possible.

A trust establishes, tears may even fall—you learn that things are not great with a child’s life at home, and now the service really extends to help.


I graduated at age seventeen from a highly-respected private school a full-blown alcoholic in 1990, on my way to suicidal depression post-college.

The misters and missus’s that taught me did not know who I was.  I got good grades, did well in sports, got to college—did well there,

But No One Knew Who I Was.

They knew my first name, called me by it.  But I never knew theirs, there was a great hold-back, a reserve hoping for respect but ending in a failure to be of maximum service to a young person.