Ms. Understood

An adjunct to my previous post:

Then, there’s the salutation “Ms.” I am closer to 40 than 30. I have never been married, though I am open to the idea and came close a time or two. Thus, “Mrs.” is inappropriate for me, and I feel that “Miss” is inappropriate for me as well. “Ms.” is utilitarian, like “Mr.” It simply indicates a female of a certain age, without regard to marital status. It shows and commands respect like nothing else short of professional titles (Dr., Reverend, Senator, etc.)

The problem? Kids generally don’t understand “Ms.” Because many of the other women they encounter use either “Miss” or “Mrs.,” they assume that applies to me.

I try to explain that “Miss” means not married, “Mrs.” means is or was married, and “Ms.” means “Let’s talk about something else.” Some kids get it. Some don’t. I’m not getting paid to teach feminism, so I typically just leave it at that.

One of my aunts told me something funny not long ago. I was ranting about being called “Mrs.,” and my aunt reassured me that my uncle, who is a reading teacher, has been called “Mrs.” a few times. My uncle is 6 feet tall and big, with a fairly deep voice. He’s mostly bald, and until a few years ago, he had a full mustache and beard. NO ONE could mistake him for a woman. So that made me feel a little better.

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6 Comments

Filed under Life, the Universe and Everything, Teaching

6 responses to “Ms. Understood

  1. It’s a hazard of the job! I get called every teacher name the child sees during the day and even “Mom” from time to time.

  2. I remember calling teachers “Mom” – including at least one nun, I think!

  3. Same here – Miss, Mrs, their homeroom teacher (even male), the art teacher (similar last name), Mom, and Grandma.

  4. I really enjoyed this post…
    xx
    Sooz

  5. Even when I taught AP Lit in high school and was helping kids write college application letters, they sometimes called me , “Mom.” Now, in middle school, kids call me by the name of my humanities counterpart, my so-called “work husband.” It’s all good!

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