For the second year in a row, I tried to teach my newly minted second graders at The Elementary School to refer to me as "Ms. Annalog" instead of "Annalog Teacher." I know that the title of "Teacher" in Korean holds much respect, but the use of this honorific in English is a great detractor from one's level of English, no matter how advanced the speaker might be. Even if you have the pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammatical skillz of a "native English speaker" the mere fact that you referred to your English instructor as "So-and-So Teacher" is a telltale sign that you learned English as a second/foreign language. Plus, for some strange reason, when someone addresses me as "Teacher" or "Annalog Teacher" I can't help picturing Ralph Wiggins.
My class of second graders last year were particularly bright, and quick to practice speaking in English. I thought, surely they'd have no trouble referring to me as "Ms. Annalog." When I began writing the words "miss" and "mister" on the board, the class was quick to identify the terms. They even laughed appropriately at my joke about being called "Mr. Annalog."
"Who am I?" I'd ask.
"Ms. Annalog," they'd say obligingly.
I patted myself on the back, beaming with self-importance.
The next day, the most fluent student in the class asks, "Annalog Teacher, what are we doing today?"
Annalog Teacher fail.
The students proceeded to call me "Annalog Teacher" for the rest of the year. Some of the more cheeky first grade students even referred to me simply as "Annalog", like I'm their chingu or something!
That is why when we started the new school year last week, I was determined to set my new batch of second graders straight. I gave the same spiel about how to address teachers in English. The kids nodded their heads in comprehension. They repeated after me when I said, "Miss Annalog." With all that said and done, I had little expectation that they would stop referring to me as "Teacher Annalog."
But on Friday... at the end of class, one of my students says in parting, "Goodbye Annalog Teacher Miss."
Miss! She said, "Miss!"
She totally made my day.
As one of my colleagues pointed out, it is unlikely that the students will refer to us as Ms. So-and-So because the homeroom teachers refer to us as So-and-So Teacher. Despite what has now become a yearly attempt at teaching my students how to address a teacher in English or the fact that I've written a whole blog post about wanting to be referred to as "Miss Annalog", I'm not all that bothered if a student calls me Annalog Teacher. Go ahead and roll your eyes, but the "teacher" part has become an intrinsic part of who I am.