Dear Abby: Teacher gets razzed for sharing a name
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DEAR ABBY: I live in a small town in Pennsylvania, where I teach fifth grade and coach at the local school. I love my job and feel lucky to be teaching next door to my mentor.
The problem is there’s another teacher and a student with whom I share the same name. I can’t help but feel discouraged when colleagues and students refer to me as “Junior ( )” or “Fake ( )” and make jokes about it on a daily basis.
I try to laugh it off, but it does get to me. I feel I should be respected because I am a professional. Is there a better way to handle this so it doesn’t negatively affect my day? — FRUSTRATED TEACHER
DEAR FRUSTRATED: The people who do this may think they’re hilariously funny, but when students do it, it is disrespectful. Tell them you would prefer to be addressed as “Mr. (first initial of your last name).”
As for your colleagues, remind them that you are an adult now, nothing about you is fake — and give yourself a nickname more acceptable than “Junior.” Do it with humor. If they slip up, keep reminding them, and eventually it will catch on.
DEAR ABBY: My daughter-in-law is extremely jealous of the close relationship I have with my daughter. If I spend time with my daughter and grandson, she gets mad at me and keeps my grandchildren from me.
I need advice on how to handle her. I get her children almost every weekend. I work a full-time job, but she feels like I should have them more. —GRANDMA IN GEORGIA
DEAR GRANDMA: I don’t think your daughter-in-law is necessarily jealous of the close relationship you have with your daughter. But it may be that she wants more free baby-sitting service.
You say you have her children almost every weekend. That hardly seems to me like she’s keeping them from you.
Remind her that working a full-time job and taking care of her children the amount of time you already do is as much as you can handle, and that you need time with your daughter and her son. There are only so many hours in a day, and you need time to rest if you’re going to go the distance.
If that’s not enough for her, so be it. If she chooses to punish you for it, it is her children who will also suffer — not just you.
DEAR ABBY: I am in my 50s and disabled. I am also the full-time caregiver for my parents. I live with them because they are also disabled and need my help.
An old friend has moved back to the area. I care very much for her, but I’m afraid I have nothing to offer her because I don’t have my own place or make a lot being on Social Security.
I’m hesitant to get close to her because all I have is the way I feel about her. Advice? — NEEDING GUIDANCE IN IOWA
DEAR NEEDING GUIDANCE: I do have a nugget of advice for you: I think you should be honest.
The way you feel about this woman could be enough for her. Whether you have anything to offer is something SHE should be allowed to decide rather than you doing it for her. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at http://www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in “What Every Teen Should Know.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds). to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)