Teacher Goes By Her First Name

teacher, first name basisThis random subject has been bubbling up inside of me, literally since the first day of school this year. I suppose it's not such a shock to my ears anymore, but I also still cannot say I'm completely comfortable with it. My son's kindergarten teacher goes by her first name. To the kids.

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Well, Melonie* (we'll call her) was out today. And as the children and their parents piled in this morning, a growing chorus of "Where's Melonie?" began. "Melonie!" one child called. "Melonie!" parroted another. For a nanosecond, I really thought Melonie was another kid. (Sorry, morning's not my sharpest time of the day.)

I remember how on the first day of school Melonie introduced herself to excited, nervous parents and children--I loved her warm vibe. But the first name thing caught me off guard. I was raised to call grown-ups by Ms. or Mr.; it's so ingrained in me, I never thought about it being another way. So I quietly asked the teacher if she'd rather my son call her Ms. Melonie. "No, Melonie's fine," she said without a thought. "The school is okay with whatever."

She sauntered off, and I stood there where she left me, stuck in a bunch of weird feelings. What about respect? I'm not stuffy! I'm not old! You can't do this! The thing is, everyone else was--and is--fine. Me? I'm still stuck in the same place.

Tell me that I'm tripping. Even my mom, who brought me up with the Ms./Mr. rule, is over it. But is there anyone else who thinks kids shouldn't be on a first-name basis with adults?

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