Formalities

Pearl’s school has a tradition on the last Thursday of the year: the classes for the following year assemble in their new classrooms to meet each other and their new teachers.  So she spent some time in next year’s class today.

There are two pairs of children in the class with the same names, let’s call them Jane Smith, Jane Jones, John Watson and John Brown.  Pearl was highly entertained because, instead of the more-usual convention of calling them Jane S, Jane J, etc, the teacher has suggested that everyone call them Miss Smith, Miss Jones, Mr Watson and Mr Brown.  All the other children will be known by their first names.

I think the teacher was surely joking, although I quite like the idea.  I had one teacher at high school who couldn’t tell my sister and me apart (we’re not twins), so he called us both Miss UpsideBackwards.  That always amused me.

What amuses me more about this idea, though, is the contrast afforded by the fact that at Pearl’s school, most of the teachers (including Pearl’s teacher for next year) are known by their first names.

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