I recently returned to substitute teaching. It's something that I often gloss over quickly in conversation because it isn't a triumphant return. I am still not sure how I feel about it. Truthfully, my first day back at it, I finally realized why so many people don't like middle years kids* (those lovely tweens that smell like a rotten hockey bag full of mouldy socks). I was exhausted and infuriated at how much attitude could live inside such young minds. Then the next time I got to hang out with adorable (and crazy) grade 2s, though exhausted, I left the school with a smile on my face. I have had a wide array of experiences in my few short weeks back on the ole bicycle of teaching, which if you haven't guessed already, is the subject matter of this blog post.
I pride myself on learning peoples' names quickly. It is both a skill and a gift. And it comes in very handy when you are substitute teaching. Kids respond to their names, and they respond when their name has that tone attached to it. It is brilliant.
I also pride myself on pronouncing names, there are quite a few nationalities represented over the school district I work in and I make sure to get a child's name pronunciation when I am doing attendance in the morning. I think it stems from having a semi-creative name myself. I often got Tara, Kira, Caroline, Carolyn, or (my least favourite of all, thank you Starbucks - still the only place to get this one) Karol. No, I wasn't named after Pope John Paul II (his name was Karol), thank you. 😑
I get that you want to give your child a classic name while allowing them to be the precious little unicorn you believe them to be, but adding unnecessary letters - what is with all the extra vowels - will only harm the poor child in the long run. Think of how many hours they will save in their life to not have to explain that it's with two e's and an i for Elezbith (I made that one up but it's not far from the truth that is out there on those attendance sheets).
I was in a class recently that had three girls named similarly. The two that sounded the same were spelled differently and the third was spelled exactly the same as the other but pronounced differently. I made it a point to apologize to these girls that I most likely wouldn't get it 100% correct when talking to any of them at any given point. I truly felt bad. I want to get kids names correct. I think it is important and shows respect. I also understand that I get 6 hours with these kids on a given day and I'm gone as quickly as I arrived so it won't completely ruin them if one lady gets their name wrong, repeatedly, one day out of there school year. But I also know that these kids will get this everywhere they go. And they will never get a souvenir with their name on it everywhere they go, and that is a pain I can relate to.
*I have also had lovely experiences with those stinky middle years kids since this experience and they aren't all bad.