On Wednesday of this past week, I started my day as I often do with reading Doug Peterson‘s blog post. This particular post was actually inspired by a Facebook message by David Garlick.
I love how Doug used the, “But please, call me Dave,” line to start digging into names that he’s been called. It was the stories behind these names that intrigued me most of all. I left a very brief comment on Doug’s post, promising to blog about some of my own name stories. This is that post.
Like Doug, I’ve been referred to by many names over the years.
Let’s start with Aviva. Even in a school context and with kids, I do not make my first name a secret. I always introduce myself to parents and staff as, “Aviva,” and I let everyone know that I’m happy with them calling me that. My parents ran a private school for years, and students always called all staff by their first names. I worked there each summer and got used to this. I do think that this can facilitate building relationships and connections with kids, but I understand that not everybody is comfortable with this practice. In schools, usually students call educators by their title and last name. I came up with a compromise for the “Aviva problem,” with the help of my previous teaching partner, Paula …
What about just Dunsiger? Paula and I always dropped the “Mrs., Ms., and Miss” from our names, and just went with Crockett and Dunsiger. We signed letters to students in this way and introduced ourselves in this way. While at my new school, most students call me, “Miss Dunsiger,” I’ve started signing notes with just my last name. Now a handful of kindergarten students just call me, “Dunsiger,” and this brings me such joy. It’s like a bit of a nickname, while still being my actual name.
Variations on Dunsiger. While most students stick to “Dunsiger,” I occasionally get variations. The Dun one was my favourite from the past, maybe because it was connected with Crockie. Recently, I love how a kindergarten student calls me, “Dunstiger.” One of his classroom educator’s last names is Mestekemper, and this student is combining my name with hers to make Dunstiger. Hybrid-names bring me joy!
Then there’s the Aviva nickname. The majority of people just call me, “Aviva,” but both Paula and my sister call me, “Vivs.” Paula usually writes it as Veevs, and my sister spells it, Vivs, but both sound the same. There are not too many nicknames that work with Aviva, so I appreciate the one that there is … and I appreciate the people that call me it even more!
There’s also my blog, Twitter, and Instagram name: Avivaloca. I have Jared Bennett to thank for this one. Years ago, when I was moving into a junior grade and needed to change my Twitter handle from @grade1, I reached out to my PLN for help. Jared thought of the name, and extended it to the name for my blog. Even 11 years later, hearing “Avivaloca,” makes me smile.
Now for the final name of “The Wow Work Teacher.” I’ve shared all of my common names already, but I have one more name to add to the list: The Wow Work Teacher. There’s a good story that goes with this one. Once a week, I have duty upstairs in the junior/intermediate hallway. One of the classrooms has a Wow Work bulletin board. Earlier in the year, I commented on the fact that it was empty, and I was excited to see their Wow Work. Every time that I was on duty, I mentioned the Wow Work bulletin board. Now I have students running up to me outside telling me that the Wow Work has changed or I need to come and see their Wow Work. Students were especially proud of their recent writing/reading Wow Work. The other day, a student stopped me in the hallway and asked, “Are you The Wow Work Teacher?” I guess that I am, and I think that this title is pretty darn special!
What special names do you have to share? What are the stories behind them? Every single name here brings with it great memories, stories, and joy. I hope that your names are just as special for you!
What a nice summary, Aviva. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks Doug! I appreciate the inspiration.