Friday, December 13, 2013

First Name Basis

An interesting trend is developing at work. I have been introduced to the students as Mr. Reed, and so far they've all called me that, even though it sounds strangely formal to my own ear. But the other day, unbidden and out of the blue, one of the older girls called me Steve. I'm not sure how she even knew my name is Steve, unless she overheard one of the other librarians call me that.

Yesterday, two more kids began calling me Steve.

These are all older high school students, so it doesn't seem weird. In fact if I met them on the street or at a party I'm sure I would have introduced myself as Steve.

But I can see how, as this phenomenon spreads, it might become a little strange. I don't want sixth graders calling me Steve, for example. After all, part of a younger student's education has to do with learning respect for adults and how to function in polite society.

I asked Dave about it last night, and I expected him to be dead-set against being on a first-name basis with the kids. But he actually equivocated and said, after all, that it shows they like me and they're being friendly with me. Only a tiny handful of adults at school -- in fact, I can think of only one -- allow students to call them by their first name.

So now I have to decide whether to nip this first-name thing in the bud, or just let it happen but restrict it to juniors and seniors -- or maybe just seniors.

This woman was among the mobs on the tube yesterday morning. Was it Take-Your-Tiny-Dog-To-Work Day?

(Top photo: Holiday lights in Notting Hill.)


  1. I see your point. In a way you should be flattered because they find you so approachable, but do you really want them all calling you by your first name? Hmm, not sure of the answer to that.

    Myself, on the other hand, with a name like Mrs. Robinson I usually end up asking young adults to call me Lynne. Especially the young men.

  2. Two of my kids went to a high school where every adult was called by his or her first name. Custodians to principal. It was awesome. It fostered a learning environment free of angst.
    But you know- that was the way it worked THERE.

  3. Let it ride. If they call you "Hottie Pants" then you need to put your foot down.

  4. Here in Los Angeles, in the public schools, particularly the alternative and charters, NO ONE calls the teachers by anything but their first names. It took some getting used to, but I am now.

  5. Lynne: Isn't it a shame that The Graduate gave unsavory connotations to a perfectly good name? :)

    Ms Moon: That's great! As I said, I'm personally fine with it. I guess it just seems a little weird that NO ONE ELSE, to speak of, allows it. Still, I'm rolling with it.

    Utahdog: They're probably more likely to resort to some four-letter word than "Hottie Pants," but in either case, yes, my foot would be put down.

    Elizabeth: Interesting! I didn't realize this was such a widespread trend. After the comments from you and Ms. Moon, I don't feel quite so weird about it!

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