What’s in a Name?

I am Tracey.

Well, Juliet may not have thought much of them, but I’m rather fond of mine. Blogging has reminded me of this. So many of my wonderfully supportive fellow bloggers address me as “Tracey” here in comments. I like that. A situation that I suspect may be almost unique to teachers is that we tend to almost forget our own first names. I can call my doctors by their first names once I’ve gotten to know them well, but one of my best friends is a former teacher of mine, and she will forever be “Miss Lewis” in my mind–no matter how many times she has told me to call her Ruth.

I am Mrs. Rains.

At work, I am Mrs. Rains. Even among ourselves, the faculty tend to refer to each other as Mr., Mrs., or Coach. Heaven forfend that students should find out that we have first names! In fact, the only time I can recall we didn’t stick to honorifics was when we had a (thankfully) temporary principal who forbade us to address each other by first names. This dictatorial command awoke the latent rebel within even the most timid teacher, and first names flew through the hallways. At home, my husband calls me Sweetheart. I am “T” to some students with whom I’ve become particularly close. Chelsea (the former student who nominated me for the Sondheim Award) calls me Mama. My family is so small that we rarely use names; just turning a head is enough for everyone to know who has been addressed.

I am Tracey Rains.

Here on Socrates Underground, I get to be all of who I am. I’m a professional. I’m an individual. I am part of a community that embraces both sides.

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9 thoughts on “What’s in a Name?

  1. Welcome missus Rains… 😛 Noooo.
    Welcome Tracey 🙂
    In our school we used to call our teachers “madam” and “sir” but some madams liked to use their first names too. Though we never got around knowing first names of some of them. Forever a mystery!

    Thanks,
    Anand

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It certainly did create an air of mystery Tracey 😛

        The culture over here is very different from over there.
        My parents used to restrict my reading books because I used to read many hours everyday during school years–books other than text.

        When I grew up and found internet I came to know that in US children are encouraged to read. Libraries over here were also very fragile when I was growing up. Thanks to internet much has become available to many like me.

        Sincerely,
        Anand

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  2. I’m really surprised that the faculty don’t use each other’s first names. Is that because they’re indoctrinated to use only last names in the classroom, and it carries over unconsciously to the teacher’s lounge? Or do they do it because it creates an atmosphere of more respect? Or what? What do you think?

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    1. I think that it is mainly that we are so indoctrinated by the classroom use of last names. I also think that it is a bit of a shame. I have found that I have had the most success as a teacher when I give more of myself personally to my students. It was a difficult step to take, but letting the students know me as a person lets them know that I see them as people, and not just “students.”

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  3. Tracey your post reminded me of this quote: “There is no sweeter sound to any person’s ear than the sound of their own name…” – Dale Carnegie You started to make the case that our name is a part of our identity. And I am afraid if I share any of my thoughts it might turn into the size of a blog post. Let me see if I can just share one point from my own perspective. During childhood the only time someone called me “Catherine” was when I was in trouble and that was quite a bit. The strangest thing is when I was pregnant with my second child, I started to go by “Catherine” and the baby girl I was carrying became my name sake. My daughter is Catherine M. Mullaney and she goes by Katie or KMac. Thanks for the post. Our names mean something to each of us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Catherine, I was really surprised by the impact that seeing (and hearing in my mind) my name here has had on me. It really did bring home to me the importance of names. Thanks for the thoughtful reply.

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