Remember how you used to call all of the girls in your class "Suzie" and all of the boys "Bobby"? You thought that you had quite a sense of humour. And yet the humour escaped me. I liked most of my classes, but I never liked your geography class, likely because you called me Suzie.
A person's name is one of the most important things that he or she possesses. It is something that we have from the moment we are born (usually). It is something that helps make us different from those around us. It is something that never changes (at least our first name). It is something that we can be proud of. It may have a long history: for instance, my husband Rob is named after his Uncle Robert who died fighting on the front in World War II. My mom, Bette, is named after the movie star Bette Davis. My daughter Jacqueline is named after former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. My son's middle name, Lance, is after his birthfather.
Like you, I became a teacher. And one of the first things I did with a class was learn my students' names and make sure I pronounced them correctly. I still remember the names of students I taught even 20 years ago -- because I made the effort. I remember the troublemakers (like Brad who let loose a bag of crickets in my portable) or the responsible ones (like Julie who had to go directly home from school to babysit her two younger sisters) or the artistic ones (like Amanda, whose drawings I photocopied to make a French vocabulary sheet one time) or the teacher's pets (like Madison who played school at home and pretended she was "Madame Jonasson") or the little gentlemen (like Chad who walked an injured girl across the room with his hand on the small of her back) or the poor eaters (like Josh who hated eating his crusts and collected them in his desk). I remember them all.
I would have never called you Mr. Smith. Please don't call me Suzie.
Linda (Tufts) Jonasson
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