Good morning class! My name is…
I struggled all throughout summer with how to end that sentence prior to my first day of teaching. Though I’m a GTA, my face would be the only face students would see in the classroom. My youthful, smiling, pretty, 22 year old face was the only face that was supposed to hold some sort of authority within the classroom. My Public Speaking class is a mix of freshman who probably took this class thinking they should just get the requirement over with and seniors who put taking this course off until their last year. I’d be the same age as some of these students. Though I wasn’t intimidated by this, I was unsure as to what they should call me. With such a close approximation in age as most of my students, I didn’t want them calling me by my first name. That was too “chill” for my liking and gave off an impression that I just wasn’t willing to work my way out from under after the first day. So, just use your surname you’re thinking. To many, that’s an easy solution but for me it was not. I’ve always loved my last name. It’s an easy name to remember, to pronounce, and to joke about. However, it’s not a name that conveys authority, professionalism, and expertise in any arena that I would like to be associated with. Friends suggested I use my mom’s maiden name since it was my middle name. Again, a logical answer. However “Ms. Friend” didn’t convey the right type of impression I wanted to give off either. I eventually sucked it up, told myself that my students were going to have to deal with it and that I would take no shit for it. So, on my first day of class, I walked to the front of the room and said, “Good morning class! My name is Ms. Hotter.”
I’ve only taught four classes so far, but I have never received any sort of backlash for my name by my own students. The only time my last name has been commented on was by a colleague’s student that I had substituted for. His comments were addressed quickly and nothing more of it was said by him or any other student.
Thankfully, the atmosphere I wanted to create with my classroom is something my students have praised me for in my SPOT evals. They love that I play music before class starts so there’s not awkward silence. They appreciate my relatable and approachable manner. I’ve even had a student comment on how he/she enjoyed my sarcasm and that it made PS his/her favorite class to attend. There’s definitely a lot of issues that can arise when teaching at such a young age but I’m trying to take this as the opportunity to really learn how to communicate and relate to my students (in a professional manner of course). I try not to shut off my own personality too much when teaching. There are a few things I have to catch myself from doing in front of my students but that’s all a part of the learning experience. One thing I have learned is that when I see a student downtown at a bar, it’s best to just duck, cover, and move onto the next bar. It’s not worth having them give you funny glances the whole time.