For one thing, fourteen letters could be in a name. A first name. As a teacher of Spanish to a 99.9% Indian population, I have faced a real challenge in my pronunciation acumen. I love these students. They are fun, responsive and curious. The youngest is 5 1/2 and the oldest is 10. I have five “batches” (the term serves as the school euphemism for classes) of students. They are all unique and they all bring something to the group dynamic.
However, they also bring their names. All fourteen letters. The only anomaly to the entire scheme of things is represented by the two third graders Jason & Christopher. Clearly, names as American as baseball…not to be confused with cricket. Christopher and Jason I am indebted to your parents for your names. I commend you for bringing me names I can pronounce without effort. I apologize that I may be misunderstood, that there is something wrong with the names held by the majority of students in this setting. Nothing wrong. But, really, I have had to initiate a novel way of addressing my students. I began to look to one boy and offer, “Young man…” To a girl, “Young lady…” With this approach in place I have been spared agonizing over the fourteen-letter name. I hate to butcher a person’s name. This technique of mine seemed to satisfy as the kids giggle whenever Sra. Wright (my name being considerably easier than theirs) speaks to each valuable member of the group. They are valuable. I love working with them. Some things just beg to be simplified. No one has complained.
Just so long as they don’t resort to addressing me as, “Old lady”.