Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Name Game

As a teacher, being called "mom" is a regular occurrence during any given day.  I love seeing the reactions from the students when they slip and call me mom when they are trying to get my attention. It runs the gamut from red cheeked embarrassment and a little laughter to acting like they are some kind of ventriloquist that just threw their voice across the room.   I always smile and sometimes even play along.  Believe me, after hearing your name on repeat all day long, it's a welcome change to be called mom.  

Today, one of the little girls came up to show me her beautiful newspaper project she had been diligently working on.   She squeezed in close to me as I sat at the back table helping another little one next to me.  

"Does this look good to you, mom?" she sweetly asked.  The other student and I stopped what we were discussing and turned to look at the now red-cheeked little one.  

"It looks stunning!" I informed her, smiling ear to ear to show I didn't mind being called mom and trying to ease her embarrassment.   "And I sure hope you cleaned up your room like I asked you to this morning!" I added.  

She laughed and headed back to her seat carrying the work-in-progress.  I definitely think her mother would have agreed that it was, in fact, a stunning piece of work.

Students I had in my class last year tend to call me by their new teachers name when we meet in the hallway.  Whenever they do, I have some fun with them and call them a different name too.  It goes like this:

"Hi Mrs. [4th grade teacher name]!" they say to me as they pass by my room.

Within seconds, they see their error and either blush with embarrassment or smile.  

"Oh.... hi [random student name, but not theirs],"  I reply.  "How's 4th grade going?"

Since they are in 4th grade, and they put up with my sarcasm and sense of humor last year, they always play along.  

To change it up, the next time they mistakenly call me another teacher's name I might say, "Hey [correct student name]!  How is 2nd grade going this year?"    That usually stops them in their tracks to explain that they are in 4th grade this year.  To which I respond, "Oh.... sure you are.... did that happen?"  as I keep walking.

I know when my own daughter was little, she would often call me by her teacher's name at home.  I wonder if that happens with any of my students?  In a child's mind, I imagine there is quite a connection between a child's teacher and their mother, at times.

Teachers are called "mom" for many reasons.  It might be because we are kind and helpful and loving and patient.  It might be because we praise them when they deserve it and discipline them when they need it.  Maybe it's because we want them to be the very best they can.  We want them to grow and be happy and safe and be good people.  We want them to be successful and confident and independent.  We teach them and support them and encourage them and guide them.  We are proud of their accomplishments, both in and out of school.  We help them get their boots on and their coat zippers unstuck and remind them to keep their desk neat.  We give them band-aids and take care of them when they are sick.  We referee arguments and model how to be a friend.  We answer questions, read books to them, play outside with them, and joke with them.  We listen to them and show them how to listen to others.  We miss them when they leave for the summer and move to the next grade or school.   I guess it's no wonder we get mistaken for a mom.

I'm both a mom and a teacher and although I'm extremely proud of being called a teacher, I am equally honored by all the little ones who have slipped up and called me "mom". 

I hope I've done them all justice.

1 comment:

  1. I still believe the best teachers ARE moms! That is not to say motherless teachers are not terrific...but mothers have an understanding that supercedes instruction. <3