My name is Taft Love. I always introduce myself as Taft Love…because that’s my name. Unfortunately, the fact that I introduced myself as Taft didn’t mean much to my fellow teachers, because they don’t speak English. For all they know, I was telling them that I like to rub mashed potatoes in my armpits. They smiled, nodded, and said “nice meet you, William.”
Here’s the problem. Technically, my name is William Taft Love, IV. For this reason, all of my paperwork has “William Love” written on it. So, they think I’m William. No matter what I do, I am “William Teacher.” I explained the issue to one of the teachers who speaks better English than my coteacher and my office mate, but he told me, “don’t worry, William is easier.”
A few of the students and teachers have grown frustrated with me. They call my new name and I don’t respond. They can’t understand why I am ignoring them. I’ve tried to explain it a couple of times, but that is one tough game of charades. I tried to use my driver’s license to explain it one time, but they were so busy trying to read the other English print on it that I couldn’t keep their attention.
This morning, I had my first 7th grade (Middle School Grade 2) class. My Korean coteacher in that class is also the principal of the school, Mr. Park. He is very nice, but it has been made clear to me that I should watch my step around him. He is apparently a real hard ass if he doesn’t like you.
Mr. Park speaks a bit of English. His vocabulary is strong (he can translate most nouns for me), but his listening skills are a bit weak. Here’s how our first class together began this morning.
Mr. Park: Shall introduce as William? (Should I introduce you as William?)
Me: Yes sir, I am William. Would it be OK for me to teach them my name by playing a game? I prepared the board for Hangman.
Mr. Park: Hang…Man?
Me: Yes sir, Hangman. That’s where they guess the letters in a word.
Mr. Park: ….ok then. Hangman.
Class began a couple of minutes later.
Mr. Park: Attention class. This is Hangman Teacher.
Mr. Park: Did I say right?
Me: I think you should call me William, after all.
Mr. Park: …..ok. Attention class. Now this William Teacher.
I almost laughed out loud when he called me Hangman. Thank God I held it together, because he is the only coteacher with the power to instantly make my life difficult. He seemed to be a good sport about the sudden change. I would love to know what was going through his head during that exchange.
Until next time.