What’s in a name?

Sometimes, as a teacher, I am overwhelmed by the sound of my own name.

In our school, we all use our first names. We think of ourselves as a community of learners, where all voices are valued.  This is lovely.

So all of are called by our first names by everyone in the building.  This is often not so lovely.

Last Friday was one of those days.  I was tired and anxious.  It was freezing outside. My feet hurt.

“Karen, look what I made last night!”  Hold on a minute, honey.

“Karen, should I hand this in?”   Don’t we always hand in our math?

“I need help, Karen.”  Be right there.

“Karen, I need to talk to you about a student.”  Yep, let’s talk about that testing.

“Karen, can we make an appointment for a conference about my daughter?” Of course, just let me look in my plan book.

“Karen!”   “Karen?”  “Hey, Karen….”   “Karen!!!”  By noon time my head was spinning.

I took my 24 students down to the computer lab, which was a huge mistake. Sitting at those machines, everyone needs constant help.  And I mean, seriously, CONSTANT.

“Karen, how do I cut and paste?”  “Karen, can I use this page?”  “Karen, where do I save it?”  “Karen, its not letting me type…save…copy….search…..”   “Karen!  I have the spinny ball of death!”  Karen,karen,karen,karen,karen.

By the time I got home, I was wishing I could change my name to Lucille.

Then I got to thinking.

How lucky I am to live a life where so many people know my name, and are close enough to me to use it.

I know some folks who have no one, literally no one, who calls out to them for attention or help or affection.  No one in the world who wants to show them something cool.  No one who just wants a chance to chat with them.  No one who relies on them for support.  I know some folks who have no family calling on the phone.  No spouse to whisper their name and say “good night”.  No colleagues to greet them in the morning or share a cup of coffee.

No kids surrounding them with eager questions or funny stories.

It made me reassess my day, my reactions and my crabby old self.  It made me laugh.

Call me crazy, or call me Karen.  Just keep calling me!

21 thoughts on “What’s in a name?

  1. I can imagine being a teacher you are stretched pretty thin. I have to remind myself of the same thing when life gets hectic, so many people are isolated or live alone and are lonely. I’ve got to keep appreciating what blessings I have, even when I get frazzled.


    • I know; sometimes I let the little annoyances really take charge.
      I was thinking the other night of how my parents chose my name carefully, and with love. And how sweet it really is to hear the kids using it all day. I just need to find a way to kick myself in the pants more often!


  2. Wonderful, Moms (I know, I know. I just like calling you Moms). This is one of the most delightful turn arounds I’ve read in a long time — to take irritation and turn it into appreciation. Beautiful. THAT’s why you are a teacher — not everybody can do that. Good teachers can.


    • It was a funny/not funny day last Friday. I actually had to walk out of the room, close the door and just stand there for a minute so I wouldn’t blow. Luckily, the kids thought that was slightly amusing…..Phew!


  3. Remember when mom would “change her name” and not tell us what her new name was? Now you know why! And you know why she loves when we call her……anytime, any day.


    • Lizzie, I was thinking of that!!! Exactly that…… I remember when my kids were little I’d sometimes get tired of the sound of “Moooooooom!” but now I’d give anything to have that sound in the house again. 😦


  4. I love the use of first names too. Mrs. is so formal and I really like for kids to call me by my first name, also Karen. It feels like Mrs. puts up some sort of wall, not to mention the fact that it makes me feel so dang old.

    Great post.


  5. Pingback: Friday Foolishness – Sportsmanlike Edition | Guapola

  6. Speaking of calling you… Hi Moms!

    I just mentioned your blog to a fellow blogging friend, SageDoyle (from Boston). His friend lives in MA and is looking for work, he has his teaching license, and I mentioned you are a teacher in MA. So you may or may not get asked if you know of any opportunities? Just wanted to give you that heads up.

    The referenced post is here:

    Hope all is well,


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