Teacher Goes By Her First Name

The Stir Bloggers

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.

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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