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You’re a Teacher? Good Luck Naming Your Baby!


baby names

My husband and I are both teachers, so when it came time to name our three children, we were understandably on the struggle bus. With hundreds of students spanning our careers, it was incredibly difficult assigning baby names that didn’t resurrect bad memories or haunt us with possible “what-ifs.” I think all teacher-parents will agree: it’s damn hard naming our babies!

Here are 6 reasons choosing baby names is so complicated for teachers:

1. We don’t want to be reminded of challenging students.

We’ve all had…ahem…difficult students. Our nightmares are filled with images of their disruptive behavior, blah work ethic, and downright crappy attitudes. Their names are ones we do not say aloud for fear of conjuring them like Bloody Mary in the mirror. Thus, they are non-negotiable negatives when it comes to naming our own offspring.

2. We can’t let history repeat itself.

Then there are the students who were nice enough, but whose gross habits and unsavory behaviors cannot be erased from our minds. James picked his nose. Madison participated in questionable extra-curricular activities outside of school. And any name that was in heavy rotation in the faculty lounge is an obvious hard no for teacher-parents.

3. “It’s not you. It’s your mom.”

Unfortunately for some students, negative experiences with their parents are what leaves a bad taste in our mouths. Lucy could be the sweetest girl to ever grace the halls of our school, but her conniving, pro-book banning, has a different grievance every day parent is enough to blacklist Lucy from all our name options, including for but not limited to our babies, pets, plants, and class mascots.

4. Initials are important.

Be it lesson planning or worrying about a student, educators are notorious for always bringing our work home with us. Just be careful not to choose a name with initials that serve as a constant reminder of the job. I bet Isabella Elizabeth Parks and Sergio Elliott Long would agree.

5. We know kids can be cruel.

Being surrounded by kids all day, every day, teachers are all too familiar with the kinds of cruel nicknames students bestow upon on one another. Ever mindful of this, we consider all rhyming potential and subsequently strike all low-hanging fruit, like Tucker (the…), from our choices. Diligent deliberation is smart, but not failproof. It’s not always possible to see into the future—who knew Alexa would take such a turn?!

6. Just say nay to the cliché

I understand our area of expertise can be a great source of inspiration for our naming brainstorm sessions. As an English teacher, I once envisioned a sweet baby Scout snuggled in my arms. I was convinced literary names were just so fun! So fitting! <insert squee!! here> Thankfully, my husband had the foresight (because he didn’t have the raging hormones) to offer a different perspective: names associated with our profession seem creative and cute until they’re not. And I’ve since learned cute runs its course right around the time our kid hits middle school.

Teachers who are currently in the process of narrowing down names for your own children, I do not envy you. This is hard work with much to consider, but many have come before you and are proof it can be done. My husband and I have successfully named three children, three dogs, and our favorite chair with few regrets. I’m not saying it was easy, but I have faith in you and can’t wait to see a picture of baby Macbeth.

Pop over to the #teacherlife community to share your thoughts on baby names as a teacher!

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You’re a Teacher? Good Luck Naming Your Baby!

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Stephanie Jankowski

Stephanie Jankowski is an English teacher by trade, smack talker by nature, and author of Schooled: A Love Letter to the Exhausting, Infuriating, Occasionally Excruciating Yet Somehow Completely Wonderful Profession of Teaching. When not teaching or writing, Stephanie is trying like hell to raise three decent human beings.

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