Monday, August 10, 2009

Roster Anxiety

I saw a school bus in my neighborhood this morning.
I saw kids waiting to go to school. It gave me the shivers.

It was 8:50.

And I wasn’t all ready there at school -- rechecking my plans, pacing the halls, reviewing the same opening procedures, and thinking about throwing up.

It makes my heart beat fast to remember those first days of school for thirty-three years.

A few minutes ago, I looked at the clock and it was 10:23. If I was at school, I would be looking at my roster for my second period class and trying to figure out how to pronounce their names.

When I first started teaching, the problem with the class rosters was calling students by their wrong names. They would have last names and first names, but students would always want you to do something other than what's on the list.

I’d call the roll:

Me: James Kane.?
James: I go by Jim.

*make mark on roster*

Me: Lily Kennedy?
Lily: I go by Angie. It’s my middle name.

*makes note*

Me: Allison Longward.
Allison: It’s LongWOOD.
Me: Whoops, sorry.

Me: Allison Moore.
Allison: Here.

*makes note which Allison*

Me: Frank Norwood.
Frank: I go by Frank.
Me: *nods and makes note*

Then two years ago, I got a roster in my second period class. I was sweating like a farm animal. The list of twenty two names looked like this and I wanted to buy a freakin' consonant:


I struggled through about ten names on the list -- and the sweat was pouring off of me, down my shirt, heart was beating too rapidly, felt light headed, and I finally looked up from the roster and commented:

Me: Where are all the American children?
Drew, on the back row, whispered to his buddy: Can she say that?
Buddy: *shrugs* She can say what she wants; she’s scary and I haven't done my summer reading.

The pronunciation of all those names was tough on an old Southern bird like me --- I resorted to callin’ each of them either “sugar” or “darlin” and pointing at them, "You, read" when that didn’t work.

So, my teacher friends out there -- I hope you had a good day.

*wipes brow*

BTW: For my friends who have heard this story, muah -- but for the rest of you, this is a true story. Sad, but true. Ask my friend, Margaret; she'll verify it.

Margaret: You should have been fired a long time ago.
Me: True story.


  1. Wouldnt that have been three years ago? You taught too years after that class.

  2. I definately experienced this... the good ole days!!

  3. Fred -- you are so right; this would have been the class of 2009 with all of those names.


  4. Do I get any credit for this blog thing you've got going? Weren't you the lady that refused to blog?

  5. Gillham! I walked into school yesterday and was distraught that I wouldn't be able to see you!! I went into the room today and it was just not the same. It was all...Ms. Artigas-ized. AND my lit class is gonna be psycho!! It's me, jamie, jake, and like the whole magnet class...I feel like such a bimbo, but on the plus side, I read my books :) I hope your have a great retirement with Keats and your smokin' hairdressin' hubby ;) I miss you Auntie Harriet!

  6. Well, children with non-American names are just as fun as ones that have American names: Like me, except I have both...

  7. I remember that day you risked your job, once again, for the entertainment of others. They don't make teachers like you anymore, sad.

  8. I used to dread the first day of school because it would be 8 hours of cringing at my name being mispronounced.
    I think I've recovered from that trauma, finally.

  9. My gut hurts from laughter at this one.

  10. Girl no matter what you write about you make me smile! This was priceless. I feel the same way when I have to call a new patient on the phone and schedule a visit!