Say our names

Regan Marsh

There is a palpable anxiety that appears with the first day of classes. This is normal, yet for some the fear does not end with meeting new teachers or secretly praying that your friends are in the class. A simple list of names spikes worried thoughts from students who will no doubt have to correct their teachers and fellow classmates on how to pronounce their name.

For myself, the start of every year was a constant reminder of the fact I would have to most likely have to speak up and tell my teacher that my name was pronounced Ree-gan not Ray-gan. Most teachers were empathetic, and only a few forgot and needed to be corrected more than once. Yet, I did discover that some teachers proceeded without asking how to pronounce my name correctly or did not give me the few seconds needed to correct them.

My story is not a unique one to this narrative of misnaming people, and it only takes one question to spare unnecessary embarrassment.

Freshman Lucia Ayers said, “My name is prevalent in Spain and Mexico.Sometimes my name is mispronounced. I feel I have to correct people with my name’s pronunciation because otherwise if I heard it mispronounced, I wouldn’t respond to it [not thinking they were talking to me]. Then I would feel bad not answering people.”

So what can be done to help this situation?

A simple solution would be to ask every student on the first day of classes how to correctly pronounce their names and if they would prefer to go by a nickname. Another way would be to simply forgo the list and ask each student their name, and for a personal fact about themselves. The most important aspect of all of these icebreakers is to listen carefully for how each name is pronounced.