Where I teach, everyone from the teachers up to the principal goes by first name.
I’ll give you a second to process that. You’re probably thinking “Awesome! I wish my school had done that!” or “That is weird and wrong and I am uncomfortable with it.” Either one. It’s cool. I’m used to it.
Anyway, because of this, the whole Mrs. Mr. thing is unfamiliar to most of my kids. In general, they don’t call people by their last name, whether it’s their coaches or their friend’s parents. Sometimes for fun they’ll call me by my last name, and that inevitable leads to the conversation about Mrs., Miss, and Ms.
When they call me Mrs. (and they do) I remind them that that refers to a woman who is married, which I’m not yet. Now that I’m engaged, they point out that I will be Mrs. pretty soon. Mrs. Beardface, more precisely, which is what they refer to my fiancee as.
So then, I explain to them that right now I go by Ms., and still will after I’m married. Most could care less, and at this point they subtly change the subject to something they’re more interested in, or wander away. Some, however, want to know why.
Last week, I was explaining to one student why I prefer Ms. “When a woman gets married, her title changes, but when a man gets married, he stays Mr. It just doesn’t seem equal.” I told her.
“So wait a minute.” She said. “Theres nothing in a guys name that tells you he’s married or not? That’s not good!”
I was so proud of this little burgeoning feminist in front of me, with her newfound awareness of equality.
Then she followed with, “I feel like when I’m grown up, I meet a guy, he seems like a good one, I’m gonna want to know right away if he’s already married to someone. I’m gonna want to know these things right away!”
Practicality wins. I can’t wait until this generation comes of age.