bait in the wolf trap (petitfour) wrote in thequestionclub,
bait in the wolf trap

My boyfriend is a high school bio teacher and has, of course, a brand new crop of students this year. He asks them to say their name, name they prefer to be called, favorite pizza topping, any other little icebreaker thing, etc.

One girl, whose name turned out later to be Jennifer on the roster, stands up when it's her turn and in a very clipped, almost irritated sort of manner says she'd prefer to be called Gerard. Some kids kind of laughed but she didn't so he wasn't sure if she was joking. He says okay and writes it down.

Later he came home and asks me whether she was just giving him a hard time (which he said her tone definitely sounded like it might have been), or whether she might be working through some gender identity issues. He said that her mode of dress might have indicated the latter, but that a lot of girls prefer to dress gender-neutral or "male" and he didn't want to go off of stereotypes.

Is there any "good" way to privately broach the issue with the student just to clarify the name, like mentioning it without mentioning it? How do you do so without sounding ridiculous/embarrassing/prying the kid? He already tried asking guidance to confirm that the roster was correct and they were apparently useless on the issue.

Edit: It's not that he particularly cares what people want to be called and why one way or the other, it's just that some kids have in the past, given the teachers a lot of grief over wanting to be called something just for the sake of giving them a hard time, and have ended up being pischers about it when the teachers try to just let it go.

Edit2: Thanks for all of the good answers. We were concerned about how to figure out if she was "kidding" or not without trying to impede on the kid's privacy. He thinks he'll just run with it and see how it goes.

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