May as Well Be a World Away

I’m in Lafayette this afternoon, spending two days at a teaching conference on differentiated instruction. I will not bore you with what we’ve been doing all day, except to tell you it’s taking me away from other such vital activities such as working on Summer Love, Cross-Purposes, or Project Rebirth.

I will, however, drop you off a nugget of wisdom before I head out for a (ridiculously early) dinner with my colleagues. Teachers, I believe, are one of few professions where everybody refers to each other by their last name almost exclusively. And not “Mr.” or “Mrs.” such as to denote respect, just “Hey, Petit. How are you, Barrios? Do you know if Matherne is here?” In other jobs I’ve had, everyone was on a first-name basis, even the boss, usually in a feigned attempt at establishing good morale or something along those lines. For teachers, though, it’s different. The kids, of course, have to call us by our last names (with “Mr.” or “Mrs.” being used as an honorific, of course). As teachers, we shouldn’t refer to one another by our first names in front of the kids, so it becomes “Mr. Petit” or “Mrs. Matherne” or what have you. So when we leave the kids and we’re alone amongst ourselves, it’s less of a mental shift to just drop the honorific than to go all the way to first names.

Now there are exceptions, of course, when you get to be closer friends with someone, the first name usually becomes applied. But with more casual acquaintances, surnames are usually sufficient.

Just a random observation to help you get through your day. As you were.


1 Response to “May as Well Be a World Away”

  1. November 20, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    I once considered pursuing becoming an educator, but the more I thought about it, the more I figured I’d become a megalomaniac from being called “Mr. Williams” all the time. Not to mention I kinda still look like I belong behind a desk rather than at a chalkboard. But anyway.

    If anything I’d like to go back and teach the course I graduated from, Print Journalism, where all the instructors were on a first-name basis with students.

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