About a year ago, I read an article and saved it for a post. Today, we get the post! The post is about how students function in a class room when their name is constantly being pronounced in a wrong way, or how they feel when a teacher, or person of authority, makes the time to actually learn how to say their name properly. You can read the whole article here.
I struggled with this all the time in Korea. Whenever I got a new student, I would ask them their name, which I always get the Korean answer. Then, I would ask if they have an English name. Only one other teacher used their English names at the school where I worked. When I ask others about a specific student they would have no idea who I am talking about. I asked why we even use English names if I’m the only one it’s for, and the answer is “because they are too hard to pronounce”. But ya know what – I can learn. And I did learn for the adults that I teach. I ask them their names, which they tell me with their last name included so I always ask if they are ok with just their first name or if they want their full name – it’s their choice. I felt bad that English teachers as a whole forced children to take English names when their Korean names have so much meaning and beauty behind them. (although one boy did name himself “Number 6 Big Mac Air Conditioner” I was allowed to call him Number 6 for short).
But this also applies to people like me who have unique names. Most people get my name wrong at first. I had a music teacher in grade 8 call me the wrong name from November until the end of the year. Every. Single. Class. I lost all respect for him. It was horrible. And it’s not even like my name is hard to pronounce. Sure there is a “y” in the middle where there is usually an “i” and that can throw people for a loop. I let it pass the first time, or congratulate those who are able to say it properly without hearing it first. But this teacher just didn’t care. He continued to say it wrong the whole time. And this was the first time I had ever had a teacher say it wrong. Before I was in a country school and every teacher knew how to say it.
My parents still get Christmas cards with my name spelled wrong in them. During my most recent contract in Korea, I had a student who loved to write me little notes for holidays. And every time, there was that “i” in the middle. She had never heard my English name before, never knew anyone who had the “i” in the middle, had only ever seen it written on the board with the “y” but STILL, there it was – that stupid “i”.
How about you folks? Do you have unique names or know someone who does? Do they feel the same way?