The following is a small request, but it can be quite annoying to teachers. Since I’ve noticed on Facebook that many of my peers have begun to have babies, I ask you to consider us public school teachers in your naming process.
Do not give multiple children the same initials. And PLEASE don’t start multiple names with the same letter combinations.
I know it’s cute to have a Catherine, Cayleanna, and a Carlie. And I know my request is kind of silly and petty. But for those of us in the public school system who are attempting to embrace technology, and each student has an individual log-in that utilizes her last name and first initial, having multiple children in the district with the same last name and initials wreaks havoc on our poor students trying to access our resources.
We were working in our school gmail accounts today, and I had three separate students who couldn’t log on because they didn’t know which combination they were compared with their siblings in the district. One girl has two siblings in the district, and all three of them have names that start with Sa-. Another had two sisters who share the first two letters – she ended up being the one that ended in 4, even though she isn’t the fourth sibling.
We have this problem occasionally with the more common names like “Walker” or “Jones” or “Johnson” – but this is just coincidence. It’s just hard when a kid doesn’t know if he’s smithj, smithj1, smithjo, smithjohn2, or what – especially when it’s different for different school services. When they get into middle school they get email accounts, but in elementary school they already have network logins, so one child might be smithjo in elementary school but get to high school and discover that, while his network login didn’t change, his email is now email@example.com. I know it’s part of being a grown-up to remember your login combinations, but when they are supposed to be standardized for the students, it’s a real pain in the arse to get them to be able to log in.
I say “arse” because that word came up several times in our read-aloud of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible we began this week. Some of my students have delighted in the seventeenth-century language; others have felt very uncomfortable having to call on God’s aid as Rev. Samuel Parris, or shout how they hate hearing of hell as John Proctor. My favorite is the use of the word “arse” in Act I, as in the line, “I’ll show you a great doin’ on your arse one of these days. Now get you home!” In one class, I described the character Thomas Putnam as having a stick up his arse; the students were slightly scandalized, but after we read the scene they agreed with me that that was an accurate description. What was hysterical was as one of my young men was reading Thomas Putnam’s lines, the class didn’t feel he was being obnoxious enough, and reminded him that he was supposed to have a stick up his arse. He sat up immediately in his desk and assumed a stiff, erect position, and asked, “Like this?” I nearly died I was struggling so hard not to laugh. I love teaching high school.’
In case you’re interested (as my students were), here is a brief etymology of the word “arse.”
Update 10/26/13 My father sent me a text after reading this post, reminding me that both my little brother’s and my name starts with the same letter, and somehow, miraculously, we survived life in the same school system for some time. I think perhaps my parents owe us an apology for not predicting the advent of internet networks when naming their 1990s children 🙂