At the beginning of every school year, introductions must be made, names have to be learned, and my students and I begin to build our relationships with one another.
Years ago, my maiden name was a difficult one for parents to pronounce. My students could say my name beautifully, though its origin isn't American English, but Inupiaq Eskimo. It has two "K's." One family thought my name was Ms. Cowlick.
Yes, Ms. Cowlick.
(illustration found here)
Needless to say, I allowed my Super Star families to call me "Ms. K." whenever the need arose.
Two years ago I taught a young lady who still hadn't acquired her V's, so instead of being greeted as "Mrs. Sommerville," I received a sing-song-y "Good morning Mrs. Sommerbille" as she entered the classroom each day.
You can't deny the cuteness factor when you're a kindergarten teacher!
Today however, might be the one that goes down in my career as the ~best~ renaming day I've experienced as a teacher.
My morning group of Super Stars had worked through storytime, a center, a discussion about classroom rules, and a coloring page before their grumbling tummies let me know it was time for snack. Students retrieved their pudding cups, crackers, granola bars, bananas, chips, and juice boxes from their backpacks and then sat down at their desks to eat.
Several students asked for help when snipping the tops off of their snack bags. Another boy asked me to help him punch the straw through his juice pouch. When all seemed right as rain, I walked back toward my desk to check the rest of the day's schedule. From behind me, I heard one of my girls:
J: Uh, teacher? Teacher? Mrs.... Mrs... *whispers to table-mate* What is her name again?
K: *using a whisper voice* Mrs. Sommerville. Her name is Mrs. Sommerville.
J: Oh, okay. Mrs. Happy Meal? Mrs. Happy Meal... I need some help opening my snack please!
K: *still using a whisper voice* Uh, no, her name isn't Mrs. Happy Meal, it's Mrs. Som.....mer.....ville.
J: Oh, uh-huh. I need help opening my snack!
I was ~rolling~!
And then the teacher in me took over: does she need a hearing evaluation sooner rather than later? Was she just doing a food/snack association thing with my name? Or is this the student who will be the main source of the laugh lines I'm bound to continue to develop this year?
Day One, down.
...and I'll take a chicken nugget Happy Meal with apple slices and a Diet Coke with a girl toy, thank you very much!