Becoming Miss A
I knew this day would come some day
since it is the culture here to call one’s teacher by her last name.
But, I have a long way to go before I become a teacher
I honestly don’t think I can ever be a teacher
The kids kept calling me Miss A...
idk how i feel about that. I feel old.
I tried to introduce myself as Tasnim,
but the teacher interjected and immediately said “Miss Aziz”...
idk how i feel about that. i feel old.
Where is the comradery that I established with my teacher-friends?
Even when I was in grade school,
there was a sense of comradery between my teachers and me.
Why does a teacher have to be a power of authority?
Is it because we aren’t sure how those younger than us will react to this placement?
Are the bureaucrats scared that our students will overcome us?
Is there anything to even overcome if we are just learning and loving each other as humans?
Will I be reinforcing the culture...the hierarchy...the bullshit
that forces so many kids to take on education as labor?
Am I just being paranoid?
I’m not used to being called by my last name by those who are younger than me.
Adults often call me Miss Aziz as a way of telling me they are proud of me.
But, why do I feel so strange when these high school students call me Miss A?
Is my Peter Pan syndrome coming back?
Am I once again facing the same issue I faced when leaving high school,
the fear of growing up?
Or, am I actually onto something?
Will I be feeding a system that can potentially be detrimental to the learning environment?
Will this existence of hierarchy diminish the comradery I always envisioned in the learning community?
Does this hierarchy have to exist,
in order for me to achieve the comradery my teacher-friends established in their classrooms?
Or, is this just a simple act of respect?
Perhaps, the hierarchy only exists if I let it exist.
One of my mentors once told me that he prefers everyone calling him by his first name
because he likes to treat others as his equals, as his friends.
But, as soon as that respect is broken by someone,
he is no longer a friend, he is Doctor or Professor to that person.
I remember how I simply would not call another professor by his first name when he told me to.
Yet, here I am today, after so many laughs, tears, and mini crises.
After being so many miles aways from him,
giving him the silliest nicknames because he is my best friend.
I know at times I made him uncomfortable
because of the comfort with which I approached him.
He knew I was stubborn and even cantankerous, at times.
Yet, he never gave up on me.
He always made me conscious when he felt disrespected
because he wanted me to be taken seriously
because he knew I am more than a ping pong.
But, isn’t that part of being comrades?
Being comfortable enough to tell each other when we are uncomfortable?
Why do I care so much about this comradery business?
Perhaps, it has something to do with the fact that all my teacher-friends
from my earlier education used that word often.
They always taught me that life is a challenge
and it is more fun and meaningful when we work together.
As Freire emphasized, treat each other and love each other as humans!
Am I being an idealist when I want to learn with my students?
Am I potentially risking my integrity as a facilitator
by embracing my ignorance and my desire to learn more?
I just don’t understand why I am so disconcerted by Miss A,
it’s not like I spent my High School years calling my teacher-friends by their first name.
I mean, I do that now since I am older
and my comrades insisted I call them by their first names
because they feel old when I call them by their last names.
I guess I have to remember what my teacher-friends mean to me.
Most of my cherished memories of my academic life
have to do with the conversations I had and continue to have with my teacher-friends.
They helped me figure out how to steer my boat during the roughest tides.
Perhaps, it is the bond between my teachers and me that is a greater example of comradery
rather than what I used to call them.
Should I be afraid of this new persona of Miss A?
We shall see where I take her
and where she takes me...