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The A-Grade Is Silent

, , , , , , , | Learning | January 23, 2018

(I have just started college, and all the freshmen have to take a “How to Succeed in College” course. My name is Aileen — pronounced “I-lean” — which is an unusual spelling of an old-fashioned name. The first week of class is the only time my teacher takes attendance. She does so by passing out the attendance sheet while going over the syllabus and having us all mark our names. The next class, she tells us that she is going to give us all numbers, and to put those down instead of our names on everything. I enjoy school, and while overall I am fairly shy, I do like to participate in class. As long as I know the subject being talked about I can talk your ear off. As soon as something flusters me, or I don’t know the correct response, I clam up. During the fourth class, I raise my hand to answer a question.)

Teacher: “Yes, Ellie?”

Me: “It’s ‘Aileen.’”

Teacher: *laughing* “Oh, Ellie, you have such a sense of humor.”

(I’m not really sure how to respond, and so far my schooling has taught me not to talk back to teachers. I let the subject drop and answer the question. From then on my teacher only calls me Ellie. I try a few times to tell her my name is Aileen, not Ellie, but each time she just laughs and calls me silly. She hands back all of my tests and assignments just fine and I get good marks on everything. So, I drop the matter and just let her call me whatever she wants. At the end of the semester, I look up my grade and find that I have failed the class. I email the teacher in confusion, asking her what has happened.)

Teacher: *via email* “I’m sorry that you are unhappy with your grade, Ms. Aileen, but my records show that you never participated in class. Unfortunately, I cannot give you a grade you did not earn. Please re-enroll next semester. You must finish this class before you are able to take your major requirements.”

(I go to my school counselor, not sure what to do. They set up a meeting with the teacher and me to try to figure out what is going on. I go to the meeting at the appointed time and walk in to find the teacher and counselor talking. The teacher looks up at me.)

Teacher: “Ellie! What are you doing here?”

Counselor: “Her name is Aileen, not Ellie.”

Teacher: “No, that’s just a joke between us. I thought we were here to discuss…” *she pronounces my name A-lean*

Me: “The A is silent; it’s pronounced ‘I-lean.’”

(The meeting was very awkward after that, but the teacher did fix my grade. It turned out there was an Ellie in the class who never showed up. The teacher gave her my grade. I never really figured out what was going through that teacher’s head. Thankfully, I never had to deal with her again.)

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