Aptonym: Jennifer English, English teacher at Snohomish High School
A: I don't think my name directed my career. My name hasn't always been English. My name was Young.
Before I met my husband, I got my degree in teaching and started teaching at Snohomish High School in 1999. And then I met my husband in 2004 we got married in 2005, and now I always tell the students who tell me, "Did you know your last name is English and you're an English teacher?" and I tell them, well, it took me 10 years to find the right man. I guess I had to kiss a lot of frogs.
And I love what I do. I think society underestimates teenagers in general; 99 percent of them are good people.
I also coach the dance team and am the advisor for the school newspaper, the Arrowhead. I like being hands off; I really try to let the students do everything and ultimately produce what they want to produce.
Q: Would you change your name if you could, and why or why not?
A: I could have kept Young but, no, I don't think I'd change my name. I like it, it fits. I get a kick out of it. When people find out I'm a teacher and then they'll ask me jokingly, "Well, I guess you teach English," and then I say, "Yes. Yes, I do teach English," and I think that's pretty funny.
Q: If you could choose another career, what would it be?
A: I've always wanted to be an English teacher, ever since I was in school. Well, originally I went into journalism because I like to learn and I like meeting people, and with journalism you've got to meet people and you learn something new every day. But different life choices prevented me from having that career. So teaching was something I was always drawn to. My other fantasy career would be professional baseball player. Probably the outfield.
Q: How do you know when someone has picked up on the fact that your name is an aptonym?
A: Most of the time people kind of chuckle, or they don't believe me at first. And the students, they always think they've made some sort of revelation and they tell me.
Q: How do people react to the combination of your name and job? Do they get it? Any funny stories as a result?
A: Anything that says "English" on it winds up in my in-box.
And the students, well, once they are used to it, they are fine. But there's a part of me that wants to be sarcastic (to the students when they react) because I can be a sarcastic person. But I remember my first principal, and this has always stuck with me because he picked up on that I was a sarcastic person, and he told me, "Humor is good, but sarcasm is bad with kids." So the few times that I have been sarcastic I have felt bad, so I don't do that anymore. I have to be careful because I have a pretty goofy sense of humor.
What's an aptonym?
An aptonym is a name aptly suited to its owner. Read more stories about apt names at www.heraldnet.com/aptonyms.
About this series
The word is "aptonym."
It refers to people whose names suggest key attributes of their jobs, professions or lives. Their names might have, in fact, influenced their lives or careers.
It's no surprise that The Herald has found lots of these people living in our area. They are vital members of the community, as well as being good sports for playing along.
So for the third summer in a row and for the next several weeks, we'll be profiling our local aptonyms. If you happen to know an aptonym or are one yourself, send the name to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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