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Changing title to Mx. (Advice? Experience? Help...)

Discussion in 'Personal' started by Icy_24, Apr 16, 2020.

  1. Icy_24

    Icy_24 New commenter

    I am a primary teacher who has been qualified since September but has taught/worked in schools for a few years now.

    Recently, I have found myself experiencing more gender dysphoria than ever before. It's something I've always felt but I seem to have really bad days currently.

    One of the things that makes me feel the worst (and the only thing that can be changed at work)) is female titles. It feels so wrong to be constantly called 'miss' 'mrs' or 'ms'. I hate it so fervently. Yuck ugh.

    I have incredible support from leadership within the school and we have discussed changing my title to Mx (pronounced mix or mux). Parents, children and staff would have it explained to them.

    The thought fills me with such relief and joy! It's such a little thing that would mean so much to me. However, I'm worried that it will turn people against me. The backlash could be v intense... I don't want to make life harder on the school or parents (I feel the children won't mind either way). I don't care so much about pronouns (weirdly) it's the title that makes me feel sick.

    I suppose what I'm looking for is for anyone who has been through something like this or if anyone has any strong opinions on it... I don't want to destroy my career but I would love to just unashamedly be myself.

    Or am I just being selfish and stupid?
  2. lucyrose50

    lucyrose50 Occasional commenter

    I suppose the question is whether you'd be more unhappy if nothing changes, given that you clearly feel really strongly about the title that's used for you, or if some people don't like it that you've asked them to use a different title. You've said that you think the pupils will be fine, and that your leadership team strongly supports you, so what's the worst that could happen if some parents or other staff don't like it? It sounds like any negativity that comes to your leadership team would be effectively squashed by them, so what sort of backlash are you afraid of? Ask yourself if this would be worse than continuing to go by a title that makes you feel so unhappy. Any backlash that there might be is likely to be short-lived, especially if you have so much support from leadership, so is it worth it in the long run?

    One thing to bear in mind is that most pupils automatically default to "Miss" for anyone they perceive as female and "Sir" for male (used without surnames) when speaking directly to a teacher or calling out for them, regardless of what the teacher's actual title is, so you'd have to think about what you'd want to do about this if it would bother you.

    All the best for whatever you decide to do, I hope you find a solution that allows you to feel happier.
    freckle06, lizziescat and Icy_24 like this.
  3. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    Why create yet another title that you might come to hate? Why not just let pupils use your given name, or even you surname on its own? When my husband was a secondary school pupil in a school for boys, they were all called by their surnames alone by teachers.

    Is your dislike of Miss or Mrs because of the inherent unfairness and sexism involved, with adult males having just one title that gives no indication of marital status? If so, why doesn't Ms find favour and why would another title, that people have never come across before, be any better?
    I would be asking whether you will actually benefit overall from your gender dysphoria having a spotlight trained on it in a setting where your gender is actually irrelevent to your work role.
    Faidha, SparkMaths, Jamvic and 5 others like this.
  4. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    I'm a bloke (& look like one). I taught for over 30 years. Even in my last few years, some Year 7 pupils would forget I was 'Mr X' and instinctively say 'Miss'. (Post 2 says the same).

    I suspect that would be even more likely in Primary; so my question to you is 'how would you deal with the pupils, perhaps only in KS1 or 2, who mistakenly call you "Miss" as that is how they perceive you'? Adult colleagues may be get used to calling you 'Mx' but parents may not and pupils certainly won't.

    The phrase 'out of the frying pan into the fire' comes to mind.
  5. Skeoch

    Skeoch Star commenter

    Memories of long ago when my all boys school appointed its first woman teacher since WW2. She asked the HT what the boys should call her. He replied, "Sir. You won't get them to use any other title."
  6. border_walker

    border_walker Lead commenter

    I also have been called Miss several times and even Dad once.
    Jamvic, sbkrobson and agathamorse like this.
  7. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    To my mind expending energy on something else would be more profitable - specially given the current wider context
    Jamvic, lardylady, sbkrobson and 8 others like this.
  8. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    I have little to add to the excellent advice above, except to say that I think you would regret being called "mucks".
  9. Icy_24

    Icy_24 New commenter

    This has been very helpful and interesting. Thank you for commenting!

    I have realised that I don't mind being called 'miss' accidentally. Perhaps because the classroom context is different and they just need something to get your attention. Thinking about this has made me realise that the main thing that makes me uncomfortable is how adults perceive me. So now, thinking about it further, I don't think changing my title will help.

    I am planning on getting surgery when I can so perhaps when my appearance changes, that would be a better time to change. Got a bit of a way to go first.

    This is exactly the conversation I needed :)
    SeanbheanMac, Jamvic, strawbs and 8 others like this.
  10. maggie m

    maggie m Lead commenter

    I have been Mrs all of my teaching career. The students use Miss, Sir and occasionally mum . As long as they are polite it doesn't matter
  11. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    Sounds a bit of a snowflake query to me. Third world problem. Suck it up and get in the real world.
  12. Icy_24

    Icy_24 New commenter

    Going to assume you mean 'first world problem'
  13. coffeekid

    coffeekid Star commenter

    Jamvic likes this.
  14. bonxie

    bonxie Lead commenter

    Some staff and parents will have come across Mx before. It's used as a term intended to be used to give no indication of male or female. It's not about whether someone is married or not.

    Icy-24, hopefully the staff at your school will remain polite and professional whatever your title is. As others have said, parents and pupils will inevitably forget which title you prefer.

    There's no need to be rude.
    SeanbheanMac, Jamvic, strawbs and 6 others like this.
  15. lucyrose50

    lucyrose50 Occasional commenter

    I'm assuming that the people making comments along the lines of this not being an important thing have never had any identity issues, nor have their family or friends, so they don't understand that something which a person feels is fundamental to their identity is actually pretty important. I really hope that they are never approached by a child who is having worries about this, as I'd hate to think of a child being told by their teacher to suck it up and get over it because there are more important things to think about.
  16. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    Ah, well thank you very much, that's really gracious of you!
    That's a very self entitled sentiment considering you intend to be working in a school setting.
    I agree with others that this is a snow flake query- to state that you can tolerate how others use language as long as you can identify that the language that does not please you is not in fact intentional, is a totally self serving and limiting way of interacting with others.
    Who gives a fig? Who cares about you analysing why people may use one title and not another? Honestly. Hyper irrelevant to the context. It's just not a professional concern.
    Who at school honestly gives a fig?
    And if you do give a fig, why aren't you focusing your fig on something a bit bigger, for example, the learning of others?
    What you "mind" does not always have a place in a school setting.

    In fact, the less you "mind" the more able you are to engage with a wider commnunity of staff and children and parents.
    It is your intolerances of language use which will lead to derision from the kids more than anything else.
    If you don't know that, then you don't know children, and if you don't know children, you are in the wrong job. You shouldn't be using the school community to sound out how your title works on a social level. Do it with your friends and family instead.
    saluki, Jamvic, Grandsire and 6 others like this.
  17. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    ..or maybe saluki chooses to identify as third world?
    bombaysapphire and Mangleworzle like this.
  18. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    I think the point is that if you have identity issues then you shouldn't be using a school environment to be testing out what works best for you.
    It actually creeps me out when people post "I wonder how the kids will receive it!" because kids do not hold any of their teachers in such esteem that they will actually consider their name on any ideological level. Kids are there to work or to mess their teacher about. When somebody asks how the kids will receive it, it make me query their view of how they want to be seen by kids. It makes somebody look as if they desperately want to be understood by the kids. If that is what you are desperate for, where is the space for you yourself to provide understanding for those kids? That is what you are paid to do. Not the other way round.
    They shouldn't be used as a sounding board for whether a name works or not.
    If you have an identity issue, choose a name and use it for school and stop asking what the kids think in order to decide if you like it. It is self serving and creepy.

    My point is absolutely not to do with negating identity issues. It is to do with being present for the kids rather than self indulging your own needs, because that is a professional requirement in teaching.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2020
    saluki, Jamvic, DrLinus and 10 others like this.
  19. Laphroig

    Laphroig Lead commenter

    Speaking from experience, whatever your preferred title, the children will call you Miss by rote. I have had this all my career along with the occasional mum, sir and, at one school, madam.
    Jamvic, agathamorse and vannie like this.
  20. HelenREMfan

    HelenREMfan Star commenter

    There are far worse things you could be called in school (and probably are )

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