Dear Miss Manners:
My son, who is almost 3, started preschool a few weeks ago, and his teacher consistently mispronounces his name. The name is uncommon in this country, so we knew it would sometimes be mispronounced, but it reflects his father’s heritage, which was important to his father as a recent immigrant.
We worked hard to pick a name that was easy for native English speakers to pronounce, and we even made sure to spell it phonetically so our son wouldn’t have to correct people as often (unlike my husband, whose name is constantly butchered). I told the teacher early on that it was actually pronounced a bit differently than she’d said it, and acknowledged that it’s a name most people haven’t heard before, so we try to clarify how to say it.
Since then, the teacher has continued to mispronounce it. She hears me say his name every day, and she writes it on his artwork each day, so I know that she has seen its (phonetic) spelling. It is only two syllables, and there are only five other children in the preschool class.
Is there a polite way to correct her mispronunciation again? If so, is there a limit to the number of times I can correct her without being rude? Or should I just accept that she’s someone who isn’t good at remembering such things?
My son is little and still getting used to the idea of being away from home, so I imagine it can only help him feel more comfortable if his teacher calls him by the right name. I feel a bit rude correcting the teacher again and again, though.
Teach your son to do it. With a long life of correcting people ahead of him, why not start him off learning how to do it effectively now? Miss Manners finds mnemonics particularly fun and memorable: ”It’s actually pronounced ‘Placate.’ ‘Play’ as in fun and ‘Kate’ as in Middleton.”
Dear Miss Manners:
Earlier this year, we found out that one of my husband’s places of employment will be shutting down, and he started on the unpleasant task of job-hunting. Happily, he heard back from most of the applications that he submitted, and he even had to turn down a few offers to avoid being overbooked.
One of the interviewers let slip that my husband had been shortlisted largely because of the glowing recommendation given to him by his soon-to-be-former boss. We are both extremely grateful to this person and agree that a nice note of thanks is in order.
Where we disagree is that I believe that a small gift would be a nice gesture, while my husband thinks it is unnecessary. What is the etiquette of thank-you gifts in professional settings? Are there specific types of gifts that we should steer away from?
Yes: ones that might be misconstrued as bribes.
In a professional setting, a favorable recommendation for a job well done — though certainly appreciated — should not be recompensed with a present. Lest, Miss Manners cautions, your prospective employers get wind of it and think that it came at a cost.