Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Would a Name, in Any Other Place, Still be as Readable?

Pardon my audacity...but I have a question for my elementary-teaching colleagues. What in the Sam Hill are you doing down there?

Yes, if I may be so bold, my inquiring mind needs an answer. I'm not speaking of the three Rs. My students are well-prepared for the rigors of my classroom. And I'm not talking manners. Except for a few instances when they lose their minds in early spring, my students exhibit exemplary (for adolescents) behavior. Sure, the new kids try my patience until I tie them to the snubbing post and break their will. Figuratively, of course. But overall, my students possess all the skills they need. Save one...


Seriously. Do all of you remember turning in your papers in school? C'mon now. I'm sure you do. The name goes in the upper right. Like clockwork. Like the ebb and flow of the tides. Sure as the sun rises in the east every morning. As dependable as a Maytag. I am confident that even Huck Finn's Pap would know to mark his 'X' in the upper right corner, even if the rest of his paper was blank. That's how WE were taught, by cracky! And it would never enter our minds to go against convention and write a name anywhere else on the paper.

Who is teaching kids to write their names in the upper left? WHO? I demand that the perpetrator step forward. You are throwing a monkey wrench into my routine. Stealing two or three seconds from my busy schedule each time I must search for the name in a stack of papers.

What could possibly be the reason for not correcting this wanton behavior? Nip it in the bud! Before it becomes a habit. We can't be sending students willy-nilly to Homework Signature Rehab. That's expensive. And time-consuming. And Candy Finnegan is booked up. Are you afraid of bruising their tender self-esteem? Taking away their I Know How To Write My Name On My Paper trophy that every student receives at the end-of-school awards assembly?

There's a place for every name, and every name should be in its place. Period. Otherwise, let's fast-track that proposed handbasket factory I've got on the back burner. Might as well let students exercise their creativity. Write their names at the bottom of the page. And reverse it, like the solution to a riddle in The National Enquirer. Better yet, hide it in the text of the page. Or use an anagram.

Please grab this bull by the horns before it is too late.


  1. I must admit, I'm a lefty. It all began with that Beyonce song...

  2. I would think the uniformity of name placement is to reduce the grading time for teachers who would otherwise have to hunt over every inch of a page to find the student's name. In my day (don't I sound like an old fart) you'd get an "F" if your name was in the wrong place. There's a time and place for creativity, but this isn't one of them.

  3. Sioux,
    Being a lefty does not excuse your from writing your name rightly. I hold you fully responsible for promoting the improper upper-left moniker-scribing. Would you DRIVE on the left side of the road, simply because you consider yourself a lefty? I think not, Madam!

    In the old days, a teacher could get away with giving an "F" for misplaced names. Along with lifting kids out of the desks by their hair, nodding off during lessons, and leaving students in the classroom unattended during lunch recess in inclement weather.

    Those days are gone. We are reaping what progress has wrought.

    1. I am not one of those weird people who write with their left hand. I am a proponent of left-hand headings.

      It all began when I first heard Beyonce sing, "To the left, to the left..." I knew then that all the years of being forced to write my name in the upper right-hand corner were wrong, so wrong.

      I have now gotten support from all over the state. Soon, it will expand beyond Missouri's boundaries. And soon--the entire world will be writing their name on the left side.

      Surrender while you have a shred of pride.

    2. Surely you don't believe that I consider anything written after 1985 to be MUSIC? I might as well listen to pre-dawn caterwauling on my back porch.

      Do not underestimate me. I have mastered the one-eyebrow-raised stink-eye, and have garnered much success in persuading people to do my bidding. You, on the OTHER hand, are merely mistaking sympathy for support. Pity for those poor, strapping, calendar-worthy firemen who "rescued" you from your sink/spigot entombment. Allegedly.