Teacher’s Guide to Naming Your Child


Marisa Christoff

Nonnewaug social studies department chair Marisa Christoff and her family: from left, her middle child Rocco, herself, her oldest Sofia, husband, and youngest daughter Lila.

Sophie Pape, Campus Community Reporter

WOODBURY — Imagine you just had a new beautiful baby, a baby that deserves a beautiful strong name — their own name. But, you have had too many students with too many names that are in the back of your head during this decision.

Being a teacher has a bigger effect on naming their children than many think. At Nonnewaug, most teachers have kids, and many just had them recently. 

“As teachers, we always have a face that’s associated with a name, and not in a ‘bad way,’” said Jessica McKay, NHS English teacher and English department chair. “For example, the name ‘Dylan.’ I’ve had so many Dylans over the last 16 years, and I’ve adored every one of them.  

Kyle Gereg, the son of Nonnewaug journalism and AP Literature teacher Conor Gereg, shows his UConn support in his new hat. Kyle happens to have the same name as our very own Kyle Brennan, but the younger Gereg was named before Brennan became a member of the Chiefs staff. (Conor Gereg photo)

“Surprisingly, that name has never ended up on a baby name list, not because of the student, but because I think of [the TV show] 90210. I think the names are impacted by what I’ve experienced in life outside of school,” stated McKay. 

Even without being a teacher, there’s an issue with baby names because of the people that you meet on a daily basis and the people that you watch on TV. That affects what people think of a name and what is associated with that name. Being an educator and teaching thousands of kids with thousands of names makes it even harder. 

“I don’t think teaching has affected the naming of my children, but funny enough I haven’t had many students with the same names as my children. I tended to favor names that ended in a vowel and connected to my Italian heritage,” said Marisa Christoff, NHS social studies department chair and history teacher. 

“My son, Rocco, was named after my father, and my girls, Sofia and Lila, were Italian names that I just connected to for some reason. I didn’t say no to any names because of past students. In fact, it makes me smile when I have a student with the same name as one of my children,” added Christoff.

“My wife and I are both teachers, so when we were naming our children it was difficult,” said Dave Green, an NHS wellness teacher. “There are so many names and so many students who you have connected to — and ones you didn’t — and when you are thinking about names for your child you have to go through all that.”

There are both positive and negative effects of being a teacher and having to name your child. While some teachers don’t feel affected, others do. It can be difficult at times, but it is strange reality in the world of teaching.