Just Call Me Mister

As a supply teacher I hate that awkward moment of writing my name on the board while the class is watching me. Instead I try to chalk it up before the kids come into the room.

Turns out putting my name up is as complicated as it is awkward.  On my first assignment I was faced with a decision. What do I want the kids to call me? Am I a Miss, Mrs. or Ms.? Here’s the thing…I’m married but didn’t take my husband’s last name. So I certainly can’t put “Mrs.” in front of my name because that would make me my mother. (shudder) Personally, I like the way “Miss” sounds with my last name and it makes me feel young. 🙂 But I suppose that I’m technically a “Ms.” so that’s what I went with.

Well the other day in a grade 2 class after seeing my name on the board, one of the kids asked if I was married. I replied, “why do you ask?” Immediately one of the girls in the class blurts out, “that means she’s not married.” I suppressed a laugh and asked, “why do you think I’m not married?” Her reply: “girls use Ms. when they don’t want people to know that they’re not married.”

Ouch. This from an 8 year old. So I explained the whole didn’t-take-the-last-name thing but she still didn’t believe me until after she saw my wedding band. I never thought I would need to prove my martial status to a bunch of second graders.

Of course, I don’t need to. I could’ve told them to mind their own beeswax. But that’s not the point. If I was a male teacher it wouldn’t even have been a conversation. I find it irritating that a woman’s status is attached to her name for everyone to know and/or judge. How archaic we still are! There isn’t even anonymity in being a “Ms.” as I’ve learned from Little Miss Precocious 8 year old.

Maybe tomorrow when I show up to class I’ll write “Mr.” on the board. Just think of the discussion that will generate! 😉


2 thoughts on “Just Call Me Mister

  1. I hadn’t really considered it before, but I think this might be my first thought when I see someone using Ms too. What a terrible assumption to be making! I think I’ve just been indirectly taught a lesson by an eight year old, thanks for passing it along

    • Kids are always so honest. Obviously she’s repeating something her mother or father said…but it made me realize that “Ms.” isn’t as neutral as I thought it was. Thanks for commenting and good luck with your blog!

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