Author Topic: Ask Amy 2/27/13 second letter: use of name  (Read 2764 times)

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lilfox

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Ask Amy 2/27/13 second letter: use of name
« on: February 27, 2013, 12:17:08 PM »
I thought this was an odd response by Amy.  The LW of the second letter runs an in-home preschool and says one of the moms doesn't ever use LW's name when addressing her in person, by phone, or by email.  How should LW handle this?

Amy replies that LW should just ask (in person) why the mom doesn't use her name, listen to the response, and then say, "I know you understand how important it is for the children to always address people by name, so this would be a good thing to model.

Asking first?  Okay, I guess, if it bothers LW enough then maybe she should bring it up.  If it were me, my answer would be like "Oh, I didn't realize.  Huh.  I'll try to remember that you prefer people to address you by name."  I wouldn't see it as a big deal at all (using a name, not using a name) but I understand that's only my personal take on it.  I don't happen to use people's names in conversations directly with them, only to get their attention if, say, their back was turned.  I find it jarring when people *do* use my name when talking to me, especially if it happens more than once in the same conversation.

But the wording of the last bit just struck me as overstepping.  By a lot.  I would find it very rude for someone to tell *me* what *I* think should be important for kids, and how I (as an adult) should behave.  Frankly I don't think it's an appropriate response to this situation at all.

The only salvageable way of phrasing it (in my mind) is if the teacher made it about *her* preferences, not what's best for the children:  "I want to encourage the kids to use my name and it would really help me out if you addressed me as ___ in the classroom."  As for dictating how LW is addressed in emails or voicemails, I suppose she could ask but again, make it about clarity for LW, not "proper behavior":  "I'd prefer if you mentioned my name in emails/voicemails so I am sure the message is meant for me."

WillyNilly

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Re: Ask Amy 2/27/13 second letter: use of name
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2013, 12:20:31 PM »
Please provide a link

Yvaine

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Re: Ask Amy 2/27/13 second letter: use of name
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2013, 12:29:46 PM »
It's the 2/26 letter. http://www.denverpost.com/askamy/ci_22666108/ask-amy-closer-look-at-jealousy-may-reveal

I wonder if Amy was trying to subtly suggest that there's no real way to ask this unless it's from a perspective of modeling behavior for the kids. So she might be able to say something about the face-to-face conversations if the point is teaching the kids how to call her Ms. Smith. The actual letter also talks about the mother not using her name in voice mails and emails, which the child would probably never see or hear, so those situations are just the OP wanting to correct another adult's etiquette because she's peeved--which isn't a polite thing to do even if she's right.

As for whether she is right, I'm not sure there's a need to start a voice mail with "Sue, blah blah blah" if the teacher's voice mail already says "This is Sue, leave a message." In emails, what I've generally seen is addressing people by name in the first email in the "chain" but not necessarily in replies. In person, I can see the point if the goal is to teach the kids what to call her, but I also don't see it as rude for two adults to have a face-to-face conversation in which neither calls the other by name at any point. In fact, if it's done too much, it feels like a sales technique.

WillyNilly

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Re: Ask Amy 2/27/13 second letter: use of name
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2013, 12:36:37 PM »
My first impression is: perhaps the mother doesn't know the woman's name!  Maybe she forgot her name and maybe the email address and VM out going message is just the name of the school.  Goodness knows I have been in situations where I've known someone casually for several months and only ever called them "excuse me".  I went a solid 4 or 5 months at my last job before I could remember everyone's name, and there were only 12 people on staff.

Venus193

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Re: Ask Amy 2/27/13 second letter: use of name
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2013, 01:02:52 PM »
I've been wondering if the teacher's name is one that has past negative associations for the child's mother.  The only way to know is to ask.

amylouky

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Re: Ask Amy 2/27/13 second letter: use of name
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2013, 01:20:11 PM »
I'd be very put out if a teacher at my daycare tried to tell me what I should be modeling for my children. I think Amy was way off on this one.
I don't see why it's a big deal to not address someone by their name, when it's someone you already know well. 
And, I admit, when DSs were in daycare, I couldn't always keep up with the teachers' names, especially the "floaters" that filled in in different rooms.

Sharnita

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Re: Ask Amy 2/27/13 second letter: use of name
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2013, 01:52:57 PM »
This is at the school, though, right? So the teacher would be establishing the standard  that she wanted modeled for all kids.

DottyG

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Re: Ask Amy 2/27/13 second letter: use of name
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2013, 01:54:11 PM »
I agree with everything amylouky just said.

This seems, to me, like a petty thing to be upset about.  And I'd be bewildered if a teacher called me on it.

LazyDaisy

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Re: Ask Amy 2/27/13 second letter: use of name
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2013, 02:10:58 PM »
I can see the LW's side. Not about the "modeling for the kids" thing Amy suggested -- that is silly to me and overstepping to tell the parent that. But I had something similar happen to me in college. A roommate of a friend, who I saw somewhat regularly, wouldn't ever call me by my name -- it was noticeable too. He'd call others by their name and then get to me and just...not. The tone of his voice didn't change so it wasn't obvious that he didn't like me or anything.

(to others) "Hi Mary, come on in and have a seat.
(to me) "Hi...the group is in the kitchen."

Same as on the phone. If I answered he'd just go into whatever reason he was calling without acknowledging my name...
(to others) "Hi Mary, this is Joe. Is Jane there?"
(to me) "Hi, is Jane there."

It was very abrupt and others noticed it too. I think he didn't remember my name, but was too embarrassed to ask me (or anyone else either apparently). But maybe it was a passive aggressive way of snubbing me -- like I didn't count.
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Yvaine

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Re: Ask Amy 2/27/13 second letter: use of name
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2013, 02:20:11 PM »
This is at the school, though, right? So the teacher would be establishing the standard  that she wanted modeled for all kids.

It's also in emails, which presumably the kids won't ever read.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Ask Amy 2/27/13 second letter: use of name
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2013, 02:20:58 PM »
I'd also find it odd (maybe not rude) if someone never addressed me by name.  Not so much when talking face to face but when leaving a voice message or sending me an email.

I think the Mom either forgot the woman's name or is unsure of whether to address her by her first name or by her last name.

Since it is bothering the teacher I'd hint to her what I wanted. "Mom, when the kids are around, would you mind addressing me as "Ms Teacher" because that is how I prefer the kids to address me but just us or via email, please use Nancy."

DottyG

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Re: Ask Amy 2/27/13 second letter: use of name
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2013, 02:30:24 PM »
Quote
Not so much when talking face to face but when leaving a voice message or sending me an email.

I don't, typically, state the person's name when leaving a VM or email - unless there are multiple people who use them (for instance, leaving a message for one part of a couple or sending an email to someone who has someone else using the same address).  I think it's unnecessary to do that.

And, like others have said, if someone keeps using my name all the time when they talk to me - like, repeatedly in a conversation - it starts to feel weird.  Why do you keep using my name?!


amylouky

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Re: Ask Amy 2/27/13 second letter: use of name
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2013, 03:13:55 PM »
This is at the school, though, right? So the teacher would be establishing the standard  that she wanted modeled for all kids.

Well, yes.. and she'd be free to model that standard herself all she wants. I'd be miffed if she tried to tell me what _I_ should be modeling, either for my own kids or for all the kids at the school.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Ask Amy 2/27/13 second letter: use of name
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2013, 03:18:15 PM »
Quote
Not so much when talking face to face but when leaving a voice message or sending me an email.

I don't, typically, state the person's name when leaving a VM or email - unless there are multiple people who use them (for instance, leaving a message for one part of a couple or sending an email to someone who has someone else using the same address).  I think it's unnecessary to do that.

And, like others have said, if someone keeps using my name all the time when they talk to me - like, repeatedly in a conversation - it starts to feel weird.  Why do you keep using my name?!

That's interesting.  I just scrolled through the first 20 emails in my inbox that were to me personally (i.e. not an email to a large distribution list). Only 3 of them didn't start out with my name and those three were one line reponses to a question I had posed in a previous email to a co-worker.  Even personal email, I normally include a greeting by name. About the only time I don't is if I'm casually responding back to a question sent to me.

I also think I normally leave a voice message by starting out a gretting by name. The only time I can remember not is when leaving a voice message for my kids or husband. I even greet my sisters by name when leaving a message on their cell phone voicemails.

LazyDaisy

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Re: Ask Amy 2/27/13 second letter: use of name
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2013, 03:30:55 PM »
Exactly how I feel. Greeting someone by their name the first time is normal in a face-to-face or telephone conversation/message. "Hi John, how are you?" "Hi Jane, this is Daisy..." I even begin emails that way. "Hi Tom, I need to get the information for XYZ project. Can you please email me the specs?" On subsequent responses during the conversation it would be odd to keep it up but it's so abrupt to just begin a new conversation with "I need to get the information for XYZ project."
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