They could teach us how to set up Blackboard. How to put together a tightly worded syllabus. The relative virtues of guest lecturers. But what the freshmen should call us, no one knows.
Dr. Hedengren: Of course not. I don't have a PhD. This title is a lie.
Professor Hedengren: This is not a lie, but it's an untruth. There's no real hard qualification to being called "Professor." Most "Professors" are actually assistant professors or associate professors, but no one calls themselves "Assistant Professor Smith." That's silly.
Instructor Hedengren: So per above, I'm technically an "instructor." However, this is a mouthful, and somehow has a futuristic-battle-academy favor to it. Maybe that's not altogether a bad thing, but still awkward.
Master Hedengren: MA students joke about this, but it's just as much of a lie as "Dr." because I haven't earned that MA yet. PhD candidates can maybe use this distinction, but they don't, strangely.
Bachelor Hedengren: No. No, that's just... no.
Sister Hedengren: Strangely enough, almost every young person I know objects to this title. Is it because we sound like our mothers? Is it because we think we're too cool or too academic for a religious form of address? Probably. And shockingly I've heard people say (twice) that they think that this name would make students tune out. One cringes to think what kind of Sunday School they attended that they were always tuning out. Also they think it might introduce a religious expectation for the class (like that they're going to open with a prayer or offer grading mercy to their students...psshhw.) While I liked who I was on my mission a lot, I might slip into that as a teacher. Still, unlike others, I have no pressing objection to this title.
Mary: This is the one that most of my contemporaries go for. I'm hesitant on it, and not just because everyone goes for it. This is more casual than Sister Hedengren, although no one seems to admit it. I belong to that old, pre-1960s school that values authority figureship and professionalism over cool and casual. I'm the teacher here. I know more than them. Can't I assert it some how? (Ironically, this is also the year I start calling my professors by their first names, although they are surely further above me than I am to my freshmen, but they're probably secure enough to not mind.)
Sister Mary: This is the one I keep telling people I'll use, but honestly, probably not. I dig the nunness of it in theory, but it's not a great idea for an entire MA teaching career. But I think that if my name was something like Jane, or if I were a man, it would be fun to go the old-time-Mormon route of Brother Joseph and Sister Emma.
Miss Hedengren: Although I feel like this is very not-even-high-schooly, this is probably the route I'll end up going. This is no more an affirmation of my (limited) qualifications than Sister Hedengren or Mary, but my freshmen will understand it as authority figure language and it does set me apart from the real professors. I feel like a preschool teacher, but I can get used to it.
Comrade/Citizen Hedengren: is really what I'm looking for. Gender-neutral, respectful, formal, but oh so red. Dang.
Maybe I'll just not say anything, let them figure it out. My freshman teacher did that, Kylie Turley, so I spent the entire semester calling her Kylie Turley. "Kylie Turley, I have a question."
I also encounter the weird "I want to call you by your last name, but my parents/friends use your first name, so I don't know which is right" situation. I had that with Kim Johnson, whom I also call by her full name, but often I call her "Kimmy-poo," which I'm pretty sure is definately not okay. Can I give my students a silly nickname to call me and bypass this whole thing? No, not when I'm a short young woman.
When I took my dad's class I didn't know whether to call him "Dad" or "Dr. Hedengren" so I gave up calling him anything at all. In study group I think I said "our professor" and in class I just raised my hand. So I guess there are even more confusing situations. Maybe I could ask my students to call me "Ma."