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!