musings,  teaching

what’s in a name?

CJT_RainbowMugPersonalized “Mrs.” Mug by CJayne Teach

My students like consistency, whether it be the same seat in math class or the same Starbucks drink every morning. Some have even protested my upcoming post-marriage name change. I’m not alone; our former music teacher still got called her maiden name two years later and our awesome student support/advisory teacher/family outreach/generally wonderful person still gets called by hers twelve years later.

The varied name nomenclature in schools interests me. In other Boston Public Schools, teachers are universally referred to by “miss” or “mister.” My elementary teacher friends in Virginia go by “Mrs. [Last Name]” whereas married female teachers in my current school go by “Ms. [Last Name].” Boston Public Schools oddly has not let married female teachers change their email addresses, only the display names, i.e., I would still be kbuenafe@bostonpublicschools.org with a display name of “Danahy, Kristina.” I’m hoping that our switch from Outlook to Google Apps will make the email address switch possible though.

Owning one’s name fascinates me too. I used to hate feeling different from everyone else in the classroom; I wished to be one of the four Jessicas, Jennifers, or Emilys…or even just Christina rather than Kristina. Later in life, I hated the butchering of my last name by unsuspecting teachers who called roll from their class rosters. I ended up learning the Army alphabet to avoid people butchering it when taking messages or looking up my name at event registration tables (“B as in Bravo, U-E, N as in November, A, F as in Foxtrot, E).

Now I’m happy to be unique and proudly own my name. Some cool things about it: Buenafe means “good faith” in Spanish, and my middle initial is Q. I’ve taken to signing everything “KQB” for the past 13 years (picked up the after seeing my favorite systems engineering professor do it). It’ll still always be my name even after I swap out one word…and I’ll still have to spell it out when leaving messages or signing in at events.

I’ll just have to deal with the student reactions for now…

Student 1: You can’t change your name! You’ll always be Ms. Buenafe!

Student 2: No. I think I’ll keep calling you Ms. Buenafe, because I like it better.

Student 3: I don’t want you to change your name.
Student 3: Do you have a sister?
Me: Yes.
Student 3: Then she can be Ms. Buenafe.
Student 3: Oh! Do you have a brother?
Me: Yes.
Student 3: I know. I’ll marry him and *I’ll* be [Student 3] Buenafe.
Student 3: [bats her eyelashes at me]

Update: Here’s more married-name swag. DomestiKated Life posted some awesome personalized note cards from Atelier. Love the Coffee Talk ones.
coffeetalk

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