Archive for the ‘independent schools’ Category

The beautiful and the damned

I was feeling pretty awesome on Thursday night.  I came back from a short visit to Hometown on Sunday, met various teaching and administrative challenges during the week (including fluffing up my AP students, who start taking exams on Monday), and on Thursday hosted a job candidate–a successful visit that may result in an actual hire.  Then I came home and wrote and submitted an AWP 2016 proposal I’d managed to pull together over the past couple of weeks (deadline was Friday).  So although I was a little underslept on Friday morning, I waltzed into school feeling pretty good, considering that it’s the Friday before AP exams and all.  charlie

And then Sebastian told me that he might be leaving.

As I told Dorothea (the only person I can talk to about this, as it’s confidential among the three of us for now), it was a Charlie Brown moment:  AUUUUGGHHH!

Sebastian might have told Orlando, with whom he shares a classroom, but I won’t talk with Orlando about it.  I would love to share this with Dr. Tea, but I won’t until it becomes more real.  The situation is that Sebastian’s partner works at a school near where they live, and there’s a sudden opening that looks quite Sebastian-shaped and…well, we’ll see what happens.

I broached the subject of Sebastian’s partner last year when we were hiring three people, but there didn’t seem to be much interest (on their part).  It wasn’t clear to me that they really wanted to teach at the same school, but it sounds like they do.  And they are a little more connected to the partner’s school community because they live close by…and the geographical advantage is a big one.  (I think we’re a better school, but then I would, wouldn’t I?)

Of course I understand why he needs to try this out, and I know we’ll manage another hire if we need to (or two if this one doesn’t go through).  This is hard for me to contemplate, though, because Sebastian is a terrific teacher and has just started to dig in and get more involved in SA (it’s his second year).  And because he is a good colleague.  But perhaps most of all because the Snork Maiden really loves him.  He taught her last year and she trusts him and takes her writing to him.  She showed him her submission for the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards this year, for example, and rejoiced with him when she got an honorable mention.  Several of the people who have left or are leaving (faculty and graduating students) are people she’s been close to, and she’s had a hard time with that.  I wish I could keep her from losing him, but I know I can’t.

A bend in the river

An English teacher is actually a fairly easy thing to hire, compared to a lot of other kinds of teachers.  Hiring a really good one, as we’ve seen, is not always simple, but hiring an okay one is not too hard; if we were willing to settle for okay ones, some of our previous searches would have been shorter.

So it is that the school wants to hire the third candidate they saw for the [One of Several Fields That’s Harder to Hire in than English] Department, and have made Mr. Candidate an offer.  And what is the obstacle to Mr. Candidate’s taking the job?  He works in another city in our state, and his wife teaches–English, of course–at the same school.

So!  I spoke with Mrs. Candidate yesterday, and she sounds–on paper, as well as on the phone–like a perfectly acceptable candidate.  A dozen years of high school teaching experience.  Some other teaching experience before that, including some college.  So we’re having her down to teach a sample class and have her do the circuit of meeting all the usual people.

I’m not in love yet, but I understand that we need to give this a fair shake.  Dorothea read Mrs. C’s materials and said, “Wow, she seems very…confident.”  There are sentences in the letter that struck me, too, as a little much, a little like “I have found the magic key of good teaching and it works in every door.”  She sounds like she’s been very successful at her current institution, and she didn’t address why she wants to move–I gather it’s basically because Mr. C wants to go in a different direction in [One of Several Fields That’s Harder to Hire in than English] than their current school wants to support.

I’d put the 40 applications we had so far into a spreadsheet, and assigned most of them a number.  One or two were 6, for “Get a look at this person fast, before they get snapped up!”  5 was “Looks like this person could totally come in and do this job.”  4 was “Realistic candidate who doesn’t quite fit my view of what we need.”  I would have rated Mrs. C toward the top of the 4 pile, in part because of the tonal issue in the letter (it reminded me, faintly but unmistakably, of Alpha), and in part because I didn’t see anything in the letter and resume that would be really fresh and new to the department.  Knowing, as I now do, that Mrs. C’s job search is only happening because Mr. C wants to move doesn’t make me more enthusiastic.  I know the power of becoming a known quantity in a school–do I really want as a new faculty member a highly confident late-mid-career person who doesn’t have a strong interest in changing institutions?  I would definitely want to see how well this person plays with others.  So I guess that’s something we’ll need to try to assess while she’s here, along with seeing her teach.

Say anything

I just learned that one of the middle school teachers is going to be taking a new administrative role next year, which means that we have to hire someone to replace him as an English teacher.  This is good news for him, so I’m glad to hear it, but this means we still have to hire at least two people, which I hoped wouldn’t happen.  The GGE has forwarded me a whole heck of a lot of dossiers, which I’ve skimmed and made notes on, and I’m hoping to send him a shortlist tomorrow.

Meanwhile, there is another teacher who has not returned a contract, and I’m not sure yet what this means.  Perhaps we will get some clarity about it this week.  Meanwhile, I will keep busy with the hires we know we have to make.  And the placement process for next year–who gets into honors and AP–which is under my jurisdiction.  And the deployment situation–which continues to depend on hiring and also, to some extent, on that placement process (which determines how many sections we need of each class).  And the literary magazine layout (I have got to hand this over to someone else next year).  And grading, so that I don’t fall behind on that.  And, of course, teaching.

I remember Dr. Tea getting pretty stressed out over both deployment and placement, and maybe I will too the first time someone gets mad at me about one of those things, but so far I am finding them very interesting, albeit time-consuming.  I was at school a lot this weekend because of the Snork Maiden working on the musical and both of us doing lit-mag layout and me working in my room when I wasn’t actually seeing the musical.  But I did get a nice evening out with Stubb on Saturday when the Snork Maiden had the show followed by going out for a late-night meal with the cast and crew.  And I also got in one workout and one run and a little bit of lying around rereading Barbara Pym’s Less Than Angels, an old favorite.  So there’s hope of being able to go back in on Monday in a robust frame of mind.

I keep forgetting

I keep forgetting: The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are always a little nuts.

  • Kids are getting sick more often.  (And teachers, too.  Lucinda was sick over Thanksgiving; Viola was sick this week.  Dorothea broke a filling on Thursday and I covered her Friday morning class, a freshman class with a bunch of the Snork Maiden’s friends in it.)
  • The seniors are getting college acceptances.  And perhaps some rejections, although it seems as if a lot of them are pursuing the strategy of trying to get a reassuring early acceptance to a school they’d be willing to attend, so I’m hearing a lot of “I got into _______, but it’s not my first choice.”  Anyway, this is starting to be distracting.
  • The painful, even more distracting rejections will probably come a little bit later, as the really super-competitive places release their decisions.
  • Although the fall play and the fall sports seasons are over, the winter sports season is under way (the girls’ basketball team was in a tournament every weeknight this week) and the music and dance classes are ramping up rehearsals for the holiday program.  The Snork Maiden is going to miss most of her double English block the next two weeks because of early dismissal to perform in holiday-themed assemblies.

So if the kids are distracted and some of them aren’t doing all their work, I need to recognize that it’s not necessarily anything to do with me.  Though I do need to hold them accountable–they’re supposed to make arrangements in advance if they’re missing class or leaving early.  And I scheduled a bunch of reading quizzes because my seniors need the points–at the midpoint of the quarter, my AP class average was something like 84%, which is low.  My regular world lit class was higher, at around 88%.

We had a big open house today–the main admissions event of the fall–and I was more nervous and keyed up than usual, because this was my first year at this event as department chair.  Everything went very well, though.  Romola, Dorothea, Sebastian, Gwendolen, and another one of the Middle School teachers (Dorothea and Gwendolen teach primarily Middle School) and I taught short sample classes, and we talked with a lot of prospective students and parents.  It was a nice reminder that people do get excited when they see all the good stuff we offer, and I’m glad Sebastian got to see the big departmental fair that followed the sample classes, because it does give a good overview of our programs and offerings.

A large selection of current students show up to serve as student hosts and answer questions–the Snork Maiden has done this in the past, but not this year–and I have to say that one of my favorite parts of the day is how serious they are about it and how friendly to the prospective students.  I happened to have the same student host assigned to my classroom this year as I had last year–a very nice football player and sculptor whom I’ve never taught but have known since he was Romola’s freshman student the first year we shared a room.  He’s in regular junior English, in Orsino’s class, so I’ll probably end up teaching him next year either in the world lit class or in AP, if he decides to take it.  I just peeked at his schedule and see that he is taking all regular classes now,  but I notice that when the college counselors want to have one of the athletes add an AP class senior year, they often ask English.  I have quite a talented basketball player taking her first AP class with me right now, and she is putting in good effort and getting reasonably good results–some rough reading quizzes as the adjustment to AP-style multiple choice is difficult for her, but her diligence has helped make up for those, and she comes faithfully to work on her papers with me.  We tend to open the door wider with each successive year, so that while students really have to demonstrate advanced skills to get into the tenth-grade honors course, they just need roughly A-minus work in either the regular or the honors class to do AP Language in eleventh grade, and by twelfth grade AP Literature, we’ll pretty much let in anyone who has good work habits and B’s, if they really want to do the work.  (Meanwhile, the really advanced students at that point can take Dr. Tea’s post-AP course and write two long papers instead of taking an AP exam.)

So even though that event eats our Saturday, it is a worthwhile use of time, and I really appreciate that the kids are willing to do it, too.  I brought one of the Snork Maiden’s friends home with me and took the two of them to the mall to do some holiday shopping.  Meanwhile, I took a walk to my sister’s house, hung out with her and the kids for a bit, and walked back–she lives about a mile and a quarter from the mall, so I got some exercise in, too.

On Sunday I have one! more! recommendation! to finish and upload to a few different places, and some other pieces of work to do, but there should also be time to work out and do laundry–oh, there needs to be some serious laundry done here.  The Snork Maiden is nearly caught up on her work from the days she was absent this week, and she might be able to catch a movie with a friend.  And then on to yet another weird between-Thanksgiving-and-winter-break week.  Just have to keep all that expected weirdness in mind.

Cat’s cradle

Back from four well-spent hours at SA, mostly prepping and planning (planning, in my lexicon, being the long-term big picture, and prepping being the actual preparation and lesson planning for the actual classes I’ll be teaching), and feeling calmer about the whole thing. Yes, it’s a tough first quarter, but honestly, things are going about as well as they could go under the circumstances.

Also, I just read What Now?’s distressing update on her partner D’s new independent school job, and the vague feelings of appreciation I was experiencing while walking across the strangely quiet campus*, freely photocopying as many handouts as I needed**, emailing friendly colleagues, puttering around my classroom, using the computers, thinking about my students, and heck, even writing with my favorite kind of pen***–these vague feelings coalesced into a serious gratitude that I work at a place that values what I do and strives to give me the conditions and materials I need to do it well.

*Peaceful and well-kept, too.

**At 2YC, the two-year for-profit technical college where I adjuncted for a few years, we were required to turn in all our photocopying jobs to the copy center a week in advance, or pay for them ourselves at a self-serve copier.

***We get to order our own classroom supplies, and I always get a few dozen of these.

The enchanted April

We have made our hire!   He’s a Ph.D. candidate who genuinely wants to teach high school.  He gave a strong sample class, but what convinced us wasn’t just the planning and execution–it was his classroom presence: engaged, kind, patient, flexible.  If I have to have two new department members during my first year as chair, I am glad that they’re Ph.D. Guy and ABD guy.  I just have to come up with better pseudonyms for both of them.

The colleague who left last spring to have a baby has stayed in touch with us, particularly with Elinor and when we were on the verge of despair about making this hire, Elinor suggested that we go back to her and see if she had any thoughts of returning, perhaps part-time.  The GGE really liked this idea, because Colleague (who also needs a pseudonym, I guess) is an excellent teacher.  And as I’ve mentioned, Gamma is going on maternity leave for a term, so a little extra help is even more welcome.  The upshot is that we get to have this Colleague back for next year, on a part-time basis.

Now, you’d think that we were well and truly overstaffed for next year, but for various reasons this isn’t the case: Gamma will teach a little less when she returns, Ph.D. Guy is promised to history for (probably) two classes, we have Gamma’s leave to cover, and we are experiencing a bit of a surge in enrollment in the high school and will need to offer additional sections in at least two grades.  Also: the film teacher who usually teaches two English classes is probably not going to be able to teach more than one next year.  It’s all shaking down as I write this, and these and other factors are in flux, so Dr. Tea and I are having quite the merry-go-round on planning for next year.

Also: remember the Room Situation?  It still exists, damnit, and obviously adding teachers and courses is only going to make it worse–unless we can make what I am referring to (in private) as a “land grab.”  I spent upwards of an hour with Penelope today with a map of the school, trying to figure out where we could move people.  The upshot was that she is going to go speak with the GGE and we’ll take it from there.

Other things that have been going on: Summer plans are getting clearer, and I’ve made some of the necessary reservations.  The Snork Maiden was offered a partial scholarship to her summer program–hooray!–and that gave me the clarity I needed to plan  travel.

I want to write about finishing up at NLNRU, and about other SA stuff, and family and life and writing, but I have papers to grade and prepping to do, so more soon!

My side of the mountain

Dean Dad, getting ready to go on an accreditation visit, has a post up about the challenge of getting outside perspectives when you spend most of your career at one institution.  (I just counted up and, unless I’m forgetting something, I’ve taught full- or part-time at eight postsecondary institutions and SA–for as little as two semesters and as much as five years–and my level of involvement with each institution has varied from very casual to deeply engaged.)

As I continue at SA, which is the only high school I’ve taught in (not counting the concurrent-enrollment classes I taught at NCC, which consisted mostly of high school juniors), I find myself becoming more and more curious about the way other schools do things.  This is one of the reasons I love reading What Now?, although she’s such a good writer and interesting thinker that I’m sure I would enjoy reading her anyway.  Our schools are quite similar in some ways, but the ways in which they’re different are fascinating and often unpredictable.

Here are some of the things I’m most curious about:

Budgets.  I don’t even know yet what my department budget will be next year, nor do I have more than the most passing sense of how to think about managing this budget.  This is partly because it’s not that big a part of my job–most items that a university department might have to cover out of its budget are centralized here. For example, at NLNRU, which is pretty decentralized compared to other places I’ve been, department budgets include faculty salaries, facility-related costs (a piece of our budget goes to the university for the upkeep and repair of our space), and computers–all of which is handled centrally at SA.

We are actually seeing a shift toward moving a few costs which used to be handled centrally onto the departments, but these are more along the lines of special events rather than everyday costs like facilities and technology.  I assume that a supplies-intensive discipline like science has a larger budget, but I don’t know how much autonomy that department has over its purchases, or if the school just covers the purchase of all the regular stuff–slides, petri dishes, chemicals–and the department budget goes for discretionary items.  I guess I need to look over the budget with Dr. Tea, because my current experience is just that occasionally I go to her to ask whether we can pay $200 to a guest speaker or spend $40 for a book, and so far she has always said yes.

I have a friend at a school which is switching to department budgets from a model in which teachers have individual budgets, which seems kind of wild to me.  If I had an individual budget, I would absolutely spend every penny of it, probably mostly on books.

Duties.  In this post on the Freakonomics blog, a high-school economics teacher speculates on a better way to spread around the pain of chaperoning dances.  The post and the discussion in the comments seem unnecessarily baroque to me, but that may be because Hilda van Gleck has so cleverly set up a SignUpGenius-based system for us.  Each duty is worth a number of points, and we have to do a certain number of points’ worth each year.  The website also sends us reminders–fantastic.  This means that as long as you sign up on time, you never have to chaperone a dance if you hate them.

I know that WN? teaches at a school with a boarding program, and this adds another level of complication to the outside-of-class responsibilities, but I’m also interested in how schools very similar to SA assign duties–what duties are needed, whether the responsibility gets spread around equally, and how.

I have a homeroom now.  Normally, department chairs do not have homerooms.  However, department chairs, like other teachers without homerooms, are required to do carpool duty and lunch duty (walking around during lunch) more times per year than teachers with homerooms (I think five, versus two, but I’m not sure).  I’m tempted to just keep my homeroom until they graduate in 2015, unless there’s some reason I can’t.  I guess it would be nice to have those extra few minutes at the beginning of each day, and there might be chair-related reasons I’d want to.  Must ask about this.

Hiring.  I’m getting a sense of how this works at SA and some other schools, but I love to hear stories about it.

Teacher Assessment.  There are so many ways to do this, and at SA, it seems like we’re constantly revisiting the process.  I want to learn more about how other schools do it.

Teacher Mentoring. I’m serving as a peer mentor to a new teacher in another department, but I’m also seeing a push in our middle school for teachers to observe one another more and offer feedback.  I’d like to see a similar one in the high school–I think.  As I observe my colleagues–as chair, I’ll observe and assess everyone–I want to remember how effectively Dr. Tea peer-mentored me when I arrived.  Mostly, she kept telling me why my choices were working, which wasn’t just praise–she was actually helping me understand what I was doing and how to think about teaching in this new environment.  She did offer frequent suggestions–and gave occasional warnings, too, about possible consequences I couldn’t have foreseen because of my lack of familiarity with the environment.

There are lots of other things, too–I’d like to go and visit other schools, in fact, and see the whole environment at once.  A friend who teaches at a middle school in this area got a professional development day to go and visit a peer at another school, which I thought was a great idea for professional development.  Maybe I can do that next year somewhere in this area, and maybe I can manage to do it while traveling once in a while, too.

Same difference

Thinking some more about that last candidate.  He had taught for a year at an independent school before going to graduate school.  At lunch, Elinor asked him, “So, what are the differences between teaching college and teaching high school?”

“There really aren’t any,” he told her. “Teaching is teaching.”

For her, that was a clear sign that he really didn’t understand the job he was applying for.  I thought so, too, although I was inclined to give a more charitable interpretation to his comment; he just didn’t understand that she was asking him, Do you understand this job, the daily rigor of it?  The relationship between the teacher and the student?  The involvement of the parents?  The way the teacher fits into the community?  

Of course, even the most charitable interpretation still leaves us with a gap in understanding.  Maybe he was saying, I work just as hard; I have to understand the material just the same; I’m just as creative; I care about the students just as much.   

But even so, there are real differences.

I work just as hard: Sure, but you work hard on different things.  Teaching high school, I don’t feel particularly responsible for mastering the secondary literature (though some familiarity is very helpful), but I do have to come up with vocabulary lists and a certain amount–how much depends on the grade level–of other “objective,” learnable, testable material.  That’s just one difference.

I have to understand the material just the same: You also have to recalibrate what you can expect the students to understand, based on their age and development.  I am teaching Beloved for the second time, reading it for the third or fourth (honestly, I barely remember reading it in college or grad school, but I know I did because I have an old edition with my own handwriting in it).  This book is a work of genius, and it means so much to me as a human being, and as a woman and as a mother.  There is so much in it, as in any work of genius, that is beyond the grasp of a seventeen-year-old.  I have to do some bridging of the gaps (sometimes comically, as when I explained a few facts about childbirth), in a developmentally appropriate way that will not result in any distressed parent phone calls, and I also have to just let some things go.

I care just as much about the students:  Well, I might take issue with this one.  I feel like I have the opportunity to care more, and in different ways, than I did when I taught college.  Teaching in college, or teaching grad students, I mostly connected with their lives beyond the classroom when explicitly invited to do so.  Sometimes this happened in a positive context, like being invited to dinner at a dorm, or being asked for advice about summer programs or internships or jobs.  Sometimes it happened in a negative or scary context, as when a student was in the hospital, or dealing with a family situation, or depressed or suffering from social anxiety.  And sometimes the context was neutral, but the interaction was meaningful, as when a student shared something about family background, or disclosed an LD.

Life beyond the classroom is an explicit part of my job in high school, though.  Even if I assiduously avoided going to performances and athletic events (which I don’t–I like them), I’d still have to chaperone several events a year.  Next week I have morning carpool duty, which means standing where the carpools drop off the kids and greeting them and waving at (sometimes chatting briefly with) their parents.  I’m going to see who is chatting with mom or dad, who is half asleep, who actually drives the car to the carpool stop and then switches places with the parent, who is carrying a birthday cake for a friend, who got a haircut over break.  FERPA doesn’t apply here; I talk to parents quite often, informally and formally, and I talk with other teachers pretty much every day about the kids, what is going on with them.

And this is just outside the classroom.  Inside, of course, some of the interactions are like the interactions in college–especially in my discussion-centered AP classes–but I’m also aware, in a general if not a nuanced way, of their relationships with one another, of their expectations of themselves, of their standard operating procedure (chatty, thoughtful, checked out, mischievous) and of deviations from it–which I try to notice, and remark on (“Hey, you made some fascinating contributions today!” or “You seem a little down today”).

I didn’t know all these things when I began, of course, so I really do have some sympathy for the last candidate, but as I said, we didn’t think he was into it, and we really do need to hire someone who wants to work here.

Next candidate comes in the second week after we get back from break.

The stranger

So we are entering spring break without having found our new colleague.  The GU fellow was pleasant to talk to, but we all thought it was pretty clear that he isn’t our man.  His sample class, centered on reading a poem with students, was low in energy, and when I say that, I don’t mean that he failed to stand up and entertain the students; I mean that while he did some things that are often good to do (having students read the poem aloud, playing a clip of the poet reading it, asking them to locate specific images in the poem, having them draw pictures for each stanza) there wasn’t any momentum to the discussion–again, as with the previous candidate, not much was at stake.  The dominant pattern of the discussion:

  • Teacher asks specific question about a line or word choice or line break
  • Student offers answer
  • Teacher praises answer, restates answer in own words, asks another question
  • Repeat

He actually made the previous candidate seem somewhat better, because while that fellow was talking about a section of Paradise Lost, this one was talking about an okay but not particularly engaging contemporary poem.

The kids were so nice–they really tried to give him what he wanted, and it was clear that the more English-loving students in the room were excited to be asked to do what he was asking.  If we were looking for an AP Literature teacher, I might want to keep him in the mix, but we’re looking for a ninth- and tenth-grade teacher–and all of us noticed that all of the students at the back of the room, all of them boys, remained politely inert during the entire class.

The GGE was there for the first half or so of the teaching demo, and slipped out while the students were working on their drawings.  He later confessed that he wanted to “flee the room.”  We were all at pains to assure him that we understood what was appealing about the candidate on paper and one-on-one–it must be disheartening to bring someone in and have a whole department say “Bleah!”

Except I’m not quite sure I do understand, in this case, because it was just so clear to us that this fellow is not really all that interested in teaching high school!  As Romola said about the previous candidate, it just didn’t seem that he was all that interested in kids.  Ph.D. Guy, when he visited, really struck us as someone who was really interested in what the students thought, how they were connecting with the text.  This fellow said that he was interested in teaching at this level because the students are “so open,” with which I would agree–ninth graders ask the biggest, messiest, wildest questions–but his teaching didn’t reflect that interest.  There was, too, something in his demeanor that we found condescending–as though he was doing us a favor by coming in, and would be doing us a favor by coming to teach here.  Um, no.  Any new teacher takes a significant amount of work and support, not just from the chair and the peer mentor, but from the whole department.  We have to hire someone who really wants to be here and work with us, not someone who is (as the GU professor put it, and I’m afraid his assessment was accurate) “disappointed not to have found a university teaching job.”

I’ve said many times in this space how very lucky I feel to have landed at SA.  I didn’t know, when I began, that I would feel this lucky; I was tentatively positive, interested in my work, and thrilled to have a steady paycheck.  It’s my hope that Ph.D. Guy will discover, as I did, that he feels well placed at SA and enjoys his work.  This fellow, I just didn’t see that happening so much.

So we have the prospect of further candidates in the weeks after we return from break.  “Are we downhearted? No!”  But we are getting a little tired.

School for scandal

Candidate No. 3 was kind of a spectacular bust, for reasons I won’t go into here, but the upshot is that we are still looking.  There’s been more discussion of candidate No.2, but surely there’s someone out there who’s a better fit for us?

Having a disaster candidate turned out to be an emotional strain.  By the end of his teaching demo, both Dr. Tea and I knew he wasn’t going to be a good match, but we had to meet with him (separately because of our schedules), sit through lunch with the department, and so on.  I was pretty much useless on Saturday, and she emailed me that she was feeling the same.  Fortunately, today I feel pretty much recovered, and despite the time change, I was able to get up close to the usual weekday time and get some work done.  I think I’ll be able to do a satisfactory amount of grading, prep Monday’s classes (one of my harder SA  days falls on my NLNRU teaching day yet again), exercise and do the inevitable bits of Lifestuff (laundry, etc.) before going to dinner at my mom’s (thank you, Mom) and getting to bed at a decent hour–as long as I keep focused.  I think I might have to give up on finishing the week’s writing goals, though.

Ph.D. Guy is coming to school on Monday to sit in on my classes and have lunch with Gamma and me (and maybe another colleague or two).  Maybe I’ll come up with a better pseudonym for him!