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Help! My name is Ms. Gross
Old 08-16-2013, 05:05 PM
 
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I'm about to start teaching 4th grade for the first time and not sure how to handle the fact that my last name is Gross. I want to go with "Ms. G", but I know I have to address the "ew Gross" issue too and I'd like to do it in a fun, humorous way and then just move on for the rest of the year.

Any ideas?? Anyone else out there with a bad teacher name?


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Old 08-16-2013, 05:20 PM
 
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Honestly, I don't know as kids will really do too much to it. And if they do, I would roll with it and move on. I think by pointing it out and making it a big deal they are going to make it a big deal. Just my two cents!
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Vocabulary
Old 08-16-2013, 05:20 PM
 
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Multiple meaning words. Have them look up GROSS in the dictionary. They'll be astounded to learn it can be used to refer to an amount.

I use Mrs. T., just because I like it. Mrs. G. has quite the ring to it!
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I have a name that kids mispronounce.
Old 08-16-2013, 05:30 PM
 
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I would tell you what it is, but that would out me. But I do want to say welcome to Proteacher.
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Vocabulary
Old 08-16-2013, 05:32 PM
 
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I love the idea of multiple meaning words. My last name is foreign and parents and students never know how to say it. I just teach them. I wouldn't worry about your last name. A few years ago I had a student named Barfuss. My students didn't think twice about the name.


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Old 08-16-2013, 05:34 PM
 
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Great advice from the previous posters. Don't try to hide it or be embarrassed. I like the suggestion of telling them that it means the total amount or it can mean 12 times 12! It's a math word!!! Tell them that with pride about the cool name you have and the kids will readily accept it.
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Old 08-16-2013, 05:51 PM
 
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I wouldn't try to make a joke about it. That might get some kids to think it is okay to make fun of your name. I would just introduce yourself as Ms. Gross and tell them that they can call you Ms. G. if they want. If someone makes a joke about your name, then just take it in stride and don't let them see it bothers you at all. Congrats on your new job!
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Old 08-16-2013, 05:53 PM
 
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I love the idea of quantity. I think it would be cute if you wrote your name on your board as Ms. 12x12. That would be such a fun ice breaker type thing to do - start with a fun riddle.
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Old 08-16-2013, 05:54 PM
 
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ME....I have a bad last name, too. Luckily I teach elementary!
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Welcome to PT!
Old 08-16-2013, 05:55 PM
 
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I think you're wise to think through how to handle this before your students show up. I think the multiple meaning word idea is excellent. Depending on your student's response when they hear your name, you might want to spend a few moments on the less-appetizing definition, then move on. And if you're doing Class/Yes from Whole Brain Teaching you could use,"Eeeuuuwww/ Gross!"


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The name game
Old 08-16-2013, 05:57 PM
 
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I taught years ago with a teacher who had a very funny/silly sounding last name. As far as I know the children never mentioned it to her or any other teacher. She was a wonderful teacher and they all loved her. She didn't make a big deal of it and things went along smoothly.

I don't happen to think you last name will give you much problem at all.

Welcome aboard Proteacher and best of luck for this coming year!
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Old 08-16-2013, 06:07 PM
 
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I have name that can be made fun of too. With upper elementary, I just open with a joke about it on the first day and that's it. I have not had issues at all really. It's all being comfortable and making it not seem like it bothers you.

My expectations for appropriate behavior are high and I have yet to have a student make fun of my name, at least in earshot of me!
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Book
Old 08-16-2013, 06:11 PM
 
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Perhaps read a book such as The Name Jar by Angsook Choi. It might help the discussion.
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Your Name
Old 08-16-2013, 06:13 PM
 
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I've always handled different or interesting names by telling my students this little observation that was a simple, but powerful insight that occurred years ago when I taught 6th grade at a school with 37 languages. Kids would often comment that a name was "weird" or "funny" so I felt inspired to tell them this:

"Your name is your first gift. A name is so special and important that parents spend days, weeks, or even months deciding on the perfect one for their child. They think about what a name means to them such as naming a child after a family member or another special person in their lives. Some children are given two names by their parents, which makes it a double gift. That's called your first name and your middle name. But everyone is given a name that links them with their family. This is your LAST name. It tells the whole world that you (and your wonderful name) belong to a special group of people called "your family."

Then I explain that, "I got my name in a wonderful and unique way. My mother wanted to name me Valentina (oh, horrors!) but my cousin's wife asked if she could choose my name because they had never been able to have children, so my mom gave her the privilege (and gift) of naming me. Thankfully, I was given the perfect name and I always strive to live up to how special my entire name is. I do this by how I treat and interact with other people. I've received many wonderful gifts in my lifetime, but my very first and most special gift is one that will last forever--it's my NAME."

I remember this like it was yesterday! The kids were so connected and attentive while I talked. Then on another spur of inspiration I surveyed the class and asked them to get into groups and tell each other what their names mean, who named them and why, etc. We shared their stories and then I passed out a strip of white cardstock and had them proudly create a name plate and color/draw it to reflect the story of how it came to be. I considered this my social studies lesson on that life changing day!
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Old 08-16-2013, 06:14 PM
 
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You've gotten great ideas, and I have nothing new to offer.

I do want to welcome you to PT, though. This place is a great support for me professionally (Busy Board and Middle School Board) and personally (Teachers' Lounge). Hope you find it a great place to be!
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I've got one also.
Old 08-16-2013, 06:16 PM
 
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Yes, mine is quite different too. I tell the story of the history of my last name. It is of Scottish decent and involves a king so they love it. Then, we move on from there. Children get over "different" last names pretty quick. Interestingly enough, some of the children call me Mrs. T. just because it's shorter.
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Mrs. Tinkle
Old 08-16-2013, 06:22 PM
 
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yep, real teacher!! She taught elementary school, but also taught my methods of Social Studies class in college many years ago. She taught fifth grade, can you imagine fifth graders with Mrs. Tinkle? She said she just went into it knowing all the possibilities, and ignored it. When they got no response it wasn't any fun.. so they stopped.

I had a family of students whose name was Gross, and their mother would have just stared down anyone who even LOOKED like they might comment. I did learn to stop saying things were gross in my class the year I had the older one.. because she came to me one day and said me using her name was upsetting... really makes you think about what you're saying.
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Old 08-16-2013, 06:45 PM
 
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4th graders have probably heard that book before, but you could do so many higher level thinking skills with it that it may be worth reading again.
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Old 08-16-2013, 06:58 PM
 
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I have no ideas but wanted to welcome you to PT! You've gotten so many great suggestions already I just couldn't add anything better. Good luck on your first year in 4th grade!
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Welcome!
Old 08-16-2013, 07:05 PM
 
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Welcome to PT!!!! This is a great place to find inspiration, commiseration, and validation. Only a fellow teacher can "get it" the way our well-meaning but clueless non-teacher friends and family members just can't.

Jump right in and start posting so we can get to know you!

As for your name, you've gotten excellent ideas for being pro-active with your name. And if some kid says something, just roll with it. Just as I tell my own children when someone teases them, "They're looking for a reaction. When they don't manage to upset you as intended, it's no longer fun for them; and they'll drop it and move on."
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Welcome to PT.
Old 08-16-2013, 07:14 PM
 
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I see this is your first post. I also see you have already gotten some great advice. I hope you have a rewarding and successful year in fourth grade. I started my 35 year career in fourth grade as well. This (35th) is going to be my final year, I think.
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Old 08-16-2013, 07:26 PM
 
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Gross is a common enough name here that nobody thinks anything about it. When I think about it, I've never heard anyone say anything about our potentially laugh-indusing last names.

I have a regular name, but if I don't write clearly, it looks like the name of a bad place.
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No advice, but
Old 08-16-2013, 08:10 PM
 
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my K teacher was Mrs. Gross and I just adored her. I have fabulous memories of her, and none of them are associated with her last name! Think of all of the great memories you will be making with your kiddos. Welcome - so glad you found us. You'll love it here.
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Old 08-16-2013, 10:20 PM
 
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I just have the kids call me by my first name

Teacher _______
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Thank you for the great ideas!
Old 08-16-2013, 11:28 PM
 
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I appreciate the wonderful ideas from everyone, and I'm glad to be joining this community. I like the idea of just introducing myself calmly and confidently, and if they think my name is funny, then go into the great "multiple meanings" activity.

Thank you all so much!
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Old 08-17-2013, 05:50 AM
 
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My ds had a principal Mr. Gross and it was never an issue. He was well liked and respected.
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won't be a big deal
Old 08-17-2013, 06:45 AM
 
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We have a sub with the same name in our 3-5 grade building. It has never been a problem.
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Old 08-17-2013, 06:57 AM
 
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When my daughter was in third grade, her teacher's name was Mrs. Maloney. On the first day, Mrs. M nipped it in the bud right away and told the children that her name was NOT Mrs. Baloney and she would not tolerate her being called that. I don't think she had any problems after that.

I like a PP's suggestion of giving no reaction to the "ewww, gross!"
Once a kid realizes he/she can't get a rise out of you, it will no longer be an issue.

Have a wonderful year. I taught fourth grade for many years, and I LOVE that age group! You'll have fun!
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Old 08-17-2013, 09:57 AM
 
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Welcome! I teach 4 th grade and I doubt the majority of the kids would say anything. Lots of great ideas here though , which is what I love about PT!
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Words come and go
Old 08-17-2013, 10:43 AM
 
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I don't think gross is used with the thought that it had 5 or 10 years ago. I agree with the PP
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I had a teacher...
Old 08-17-2013, 12:20 PM
 
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name Mrs. Gross and she was one of my favorites. She also had a lisp when she talked. She was such a great teacher that everyone love her. She made learning so much fun. I was from the era where people used the word "gross" and I never thought about it relation to her. I am sure there will be a few immature enough to try being mean, but I think your plan to address humorous way and then talk about respecting others should do the trick. Best wishes in the upcoming school year.
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Old 08-17-2013, 03:34 PM
 
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I had a teacher named Mrs Gross in fifth grade. No one made any comments about it that I knew of. She didn't tell us not to, we just didn't. It was still the time where most of our parents would wring our necks if they got a call home about us being rude to the teacher.
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Names
Old 08-17-2013, 05:03 PM
 
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I have a "G" name too that is very funny as well. I told my students they could call me Mrs. G if they wanted too. Very few ever do. They don't tease me about my name either.
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