What should we call you?

Morton College, Cicero, Illinois.

My Spanish classes are always nervous about how they, the students, should address me. When I first started teaching at Morton College in 1995, I always told my students to call me David in Spanish, as opposed to David in English. Whenever someone called me Profesor in Spanish, or worse yet, Señor Rodríguez or just plain Señor, I corrected them and insist that everyone call me David in Spanish. But no matter how many times I corrected students, not everyone called me David.

Last year, I stopped telling students what to call me. Now, I respond to whatever name they call me. If they call me Señor or Señor Rodríguez, I know that they recently studied Spanish in high school. So within any one class period, I may be called David (in English or Spanish), Diego, David Diego, Profesor Rodríguez, Señor Rodríguez, or just plain Señor. Señor in Spanish means “mister” or “Lord”, which reminds me of when I was little and I prayed, “Señor nuestro que está en los cielos …”

I really don’t want my students to treat me like God. I don’t handle power and authority very well. Señor also used to bother me because it made me feel so much olded to be called Señor Rodríguez, but now I kind of like it. 🙂 Perhpas, I’m finally mellowing out.

I did have one Spanish class that always called me Dr. D. and I kind of liked that. The students really enjoyed calling me Dr. D., too, because it made me sound cool. Every single time any student spoke in class, he or she would insist on calling me, “Dr. D.” before speaking. After a while, I would walk into the classroom and say, “Dr. D. is in da house!” And they loved it!