Friday, March 17, 2006

WHAT'S IN A NAME

Right now I'm teaching Koreans, and the powers that be have decided that in the school the kids need English names, not Korean names. I'm not sure why this is the case. I taught Japanese for four years in Japan calling students by their Japanese names, and Cambodians in Cambodia for two years calling them by their Cambodian names. It's a little difficult, yes, remembering names that are somewhat foreign, sometimes odd, but not impossible. Now, though, I find myself calling on teenage kids whose names have been picked by themselves and other teachers, resulting in cries of "Ceasar, pay attention", or "Ulysses, be quiet", or "Adelaide, what's the answer?"

Which makes me feel, I don't know, odd. Like a kid being stuck with a foreign name. I mean, they're already in a foreign land -- do we have to change their names, too?

1 comment:

bethanie_odd said...

My Mandarin tutor's name is Ke, English name Nancy. I can't pronounce her Chinese name well, but I feel better trying to call her Ke than using a name that doesn't suit her at all and that she chose 4 years ago. I keep wanting to call her Karen. A friend of mine always calls her Karen, then Nancy. Once I asked her about this, if all the white people around her call her Karen, perhaps it is a better suited English name than Nancy. She looked at me and said, but it isn't my name.. My name is Nancy.