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View Full Version : Why do we still call our school teachers by their last name?


maclover001
May 25, 2009, 08:18 PM
Honestly - it's 2009. I'm in grade 10 and I think it's just stupid how we still have to address our teachers by "Mr" or "Mrs".

Your opinions?

mlemonds
May 25, 2009, 08:20 PM
Honestly - it's 2009. I'm in grade 10 and I think it's just stupid how we still have to address our teachers by "Mr" or "Mrs".

Your opinions?

shows respect.

dukebound85
May 25, 2009, 08:20 PM
um respect???

once you get to college it will be Dr. so and so or Professor so and so

If i taught hs, i better be addressed formally unless i say otherwise:cool:

jmann
May 25, 2009, 08:21 PM
I think it shows a form of respect. It's not like there is respect anywhere else in High School. This is the least teenagers can do. :rolleyes:

Love
May 25, 2009, 08:21 PM
Respect, mainly.

mlemonds
May 25, 2009, 08:23 PM
why don't you think we should address them formally?

fireshot91
May 25, 2009, 08:26 PM
In India (I went to a private school, called Amity International), we called our teachers either 'mam' or 'sir'. Sometimes, people called the teachers Madame.

Mainly it was ___ mam (with the ___ being the teachers name).


Over here, I call my teachers Mr./Mrs. ____


I don't mind calling teachers that, because it shows respect. If I called a teacher by their first name, it'd be like she/he was equal/less than me, which she/he isn't because she/he's teaching me

Demosthenes X
May 25, 2009, 08:26 PM
I'm in grade 10 and I think

I tuned out there. Most of what you think is grade ten is self centred, naive, and wrong. Case in point.

Dagless
May 25, 2009, 08:26 PM
Respect, and I wouldn't want it changing either.

Designer Dale
May 25, 2009, 08:42 PM
Formal naming is an easy way to maintain chain of command without being pushy. When you go to work, you will call your supervisor/boss by Mr. or Ms. or Mrs. until they tell you to "Call me...". I taught Elementary school and never had any of my students call me anything other my formal last name, and never had to mention it. If i were 30 something or younger and teaching High school, I would want my students to call me Mr. just to remind all involved that one is the teacher and the other the student. Teaching is a position of high authority and it is important to maintain separation. If the OP is tired of being called by his first name by someone who he must call by a last name, well, that's just the way things go.

Mr. Dale...:p

Raid
May 25, 2009, 08:43 PM
Honestly - it's 2009. I'm in grade 10 and I think it's just stupid how we still have to address our teachers by "Mr" or "Mrs".

Your opinions?
Definitely a show of respect, in fact even in Uni it's respectful to address your teacher as "Professor". I think that's the status quo until you reach maybe your Masters/PhD level till you build enough personal rapport with them before addressing them by their first name.

If you don't mind OP why do you think it's stupid? Is it too formal for you or something?

RITZFit
May 25, 2009, 08:48 PM
respect will get you far ( in most cases atleast :rolleyes: )

bruinsrme
May 25, 2009, 08:51 PM
respect will get you far ( in most cases atleast :rolleyes: )

+1

yep saw one of my teachers a couple years ago and it was Mr Holden. Not Wayne.

Eanair
May 25, 2009, 10:03 PM
I agree with everyone so far.

It shows respect.

When you get to college/university, you call your teachers Professor Smith or Doctor Smith. When you have a job, you call your supervisors Mr. Smith or Mrs. Smith or Ms. Smith.

maclover001
May 25, 2009, 10:07 PM
I guess those answers make sense. Still just seems so pre-1960 to me.

dukebound85
May 25, 2009, 10:09 PM
I agree with everyone so far.

It shows respect.

When you get to college/university, you call your teachers Professor Smith or Doctor Smith. When you have a job, you call your supervisors Mr. Smith or Mrs. Smith or Ms. Smith.

unless they say otherwise

i for example work with alot of phds and i always said dr such and such. they told me call me "first name"....the dr part is for interviews lol

NoSmokingBandit
May 25, 2009, 10:10 PM
I guess those answers make sense. Still just seems so pre-1960 to me.

Unfortunately you are correct. Showing respect for one's superior is a thing of the past.

dukebound85
May 25, 2009, 10:11 PM
Unfortunately you are correct. Showing respect for one's superior is a thing of the past.

that made me chuckle. sad but true

Eanair
May 25, 2009, 10:13 PM
unless they say otherwise

i for example work with alot of phds and i always said dr such and such. they told me call me "first name"....the dr part is for interviews lol

Yes, that too. :)

I worked with very cool PhDs in school, and they insisted everyone call them by their first name. There were only a few who insisted we either use Professor or Doctor when addressing them.

tobefirst
May 25, 2009, 10:22 PM
I had a teacher in high school, way back in the mid-90s that addressed all his students by Mr. X and Ms. Y. He returned the respect we gave him by calling him Mr. Z by calling us likewise.

Teh Don Ditty
May 25, 2009, 10:26 PM
The only time to call your teacher/professor by their first name is when they tell you that it's ok.

In my experience, the ones that do that are generally pretty cool and easy to converse with.

CorvusCamenarum
May 25, 2009, 10:26 PM
Unfortunately you are correct. Showing respect for one's superior is a thing of the past.

As is the notion that someone is better than you (general you, not you personally ;) ).

erickkoch
May 25, 2009, 10:27 PM
Familiarity breeds contempt. Last name only for the teacher.

thomahawk
May 25, 2009, 10:30 PM
these days younger generations have no respect for older people.
in my school kids call teachers by saying just "miss" or "mister" but at least it has a small form of respect in it.

i think generations are getting more corrupt year by year.

addressing your teachers by mr.___ or mrs/ms______ is the least we could do as a corrupt young generation

mac88
May 25, 2009, 10:34 PM
these days younger generations have no respect for older people.
in my school kids call teachers by saying just "miss" or "mister" but at least it has a small form of respect in it.

i think generations are getting more corrupt year by year.

addressing your teachers by mr.___ or mrs/ms______ is the least we could do as a corrupt young generation

Absolutely true. It's just not older people, it's people in general. Certain youths just don't care about anyone else except themselves, it is quite sad.

Artofilm
May 25, 2009, 10:44 PM
To be honest, when I was in high school I only addressed certain teachers with Mr. or Miss or the like. The ones I did address with those titles, I respected and thought highly of and I was treated the same way back.

The other teachers I did not address with those titles were the teachers that would hardly do anything and I'd be practically teaching the class.

Either way, I think a teachers main show of respect is their paycheck. I don't believe in the "superior" titles, everyone is equal, we all just excel in different ways.

ucfgrad93
May 25, 2009, 10:44 PM
It is a show a respect. Inspite of what you may think, a student is not on the same level as a teacher.

epyfa
May 25, 2009, 10:46 PM
I think it works pretty good that way at school but during school trips or anything like that we call most teachers by their first names.

Legolamb
May 25, 2009, 10:46 PM
They are older, wiser, and you are in a professional relationship with them. In college (although with your attitude, I'd hate to think how you are going to write any application letters or, perish the thought, thanks for interviews if you make it that far), you'll be using similar "honorifics" even when your professor is younger than you. Unless THEY, not you, suggest otherwise, that's the way it goes.

I have a PhD. When I introduce myself in e-mails or in professional settings, I am referred to as "Dr." I usually drop it (and my last name as well) after the initial contact. I always use the title (or Mr., Ms.) unless the person says something like, "It's Tom".

And that's Dr. Legolamb to you.:p

Teh Don Ditty
May 25, 2009, 10:47 PM
^Mind if I make some wool out of you Dr. Legolamb? :p

Artofilm
May 25, 2009, 10:58 PM
I don't expect people to agree with my personal opinion on this matter, but this topic is about everyone's point of view on this matter.

It's best not to get insulting when writing and reading in an opinion based topic Legolamb, like I said, I'm just expressing my opinion.

zap2
May 25, 2009, 11:04 PM
There are schools that use "Teacher John" if the persons name was john doe.
I know there are teacher at my high school who are fine with being called by their first name. Guess it depends where you are and who you're dealing with.

jmann
May 25, 2009, 11:12 PM
In my school all teachers went by their Mr./Mrs + last name except for the radical classes/teachers like gym and sociology. I never though otherwise. I feel like teachers deserve more respect than they actually receive. :(

bbbensen
May 26, 2009, 01:01 AM
I have a science teacher who I refer to as "Dr. *first name*" She told us to call her that, so thats just what we do. I have had some other teachers that I called them by the first letter of their last name (Mr. D), and other I just called then their last name with out the Mr. or Mrs. (Turby)

I dont see a problem calling teachers by their first name if they say you can. Other wise, its just a sign of respect.

Abstract
May 26, 2009, 01:32 AM
If you actually need to ask such a question, then you have no understanding of even the very basic concept of respect. I know you think it's just a title, but it's how you'd greet someone who's in a position of authority over you, or an elder. If our society was even more strict, you would even refer to co-workers (at an equal job level as you) as Mr. _____ or Miss/Ms./Mrs. _______ unless they tell you to call them by their first name.

It really depends on the society you're from, but even in the most casual countries, you refer to a person of authority with Mr/Mrs./Ms/etc.

skunk
May 26, 2009, 01:37 AM
I didn't even know the first names of my teachers. "Sir" was de rigueur.

bradl
May 26, 2009, 01:52 AM
Respect, and I wouldn't want it changing either.

Me neither. My 9th grade English teacher (I was in 9th in 1989) recently became an assistant principal under my mother (mother is a high school principal). I still address her formally, as Mrs. Buttell. That's what she always has been to me, and that's what she will always be to me - just like the principal my mother worked under when I was in kindergarten I still address formally. Hell, I address all of the teachers I had formally (save two; they gave us the okay to call them something else).

I had a teacher in high school, way back in the mid-90s that addressed all his students by Mr. X and Ms. Y. He returned the respect we gave him by calling him Mr. Z by calling us likewise.

When my mother is just acting as principal, she'll call the kids in her school by their first name, although they'll address her formally. But when she teaches a class (twice per month, my mother will give a teacher the day off with pay, and teach their class for that day), she'll address the students formally, and the students address her formally.

I guess those answers make sense. Still just seems so pre-1960 to me.

It's so 1980ish, 1990ish, and 2000ish. Goes along with another old saying: To get respect, you must give respect. better yet, Deanna Troi said it best in ST: TNG, ep. 39, "The Icarus Factor":


Counselor Deanna Troi: Respect is earned, not bestowed.


Wisdom worth living by.

BL.

EricNau
May 26, 2009, 02:09 AM
In elementary school and high school I addressed my teachers with Mr./Mrs., but in middle school we were asked to address our teachers by first name only. To be honest, it didn't make any difference to the students or the teachers, and some might argue that it promoted a more effective teaching environment by encouraging a closer relationship between the teacher and his/her students.

The title of Mr./Mrs. may display respect, but at the same time it doesn't earn it. Students will respect (or disrespect) their teacher regardless of their title or name. In other words, the title itself accomplishes little, but if that's what the teacher/school prefers, then they are entirely proper to do so.

I think it should be up to the school/teacher to decide the appropriate practice, and I don't see why either should be deemed advantageous over the other.


I think it shows a form of respect.
I'm not so sure.

If you willingly address your boss Mr. or Mrs. you indeed show respect; however, if your boss requires that you address him/her with Mr./Mrs. the respect formally contained within the title is lost, no?

However, it might be said that addressing teachers with Mr. and Mrs. teaches respect.

irmongoose
May 26, 2009, 02:23 AM
Respect ain't old school. It's just a forgotten art. :cool:


irmongoose

d wade
May 26, 2009, 08:19 AM
when i was in HS it all depended on the teacher. some we would just call by his/her last name without the mr./mrs.

maflynn
May 26, 2009, 08:29 AM
Respect and to that end, I make sure my kids use Mr/Mrs/Miss to any adults. While I seem to be in the minority by teaching my kids this, I think its essential to showing respect.

mlemonds
May 26, 2009, 08:30 AM
i call everybody mr. or mrs. unless i am told to otherwise, or dont know/remember their last name. have always done it since i was a kid. friends parents were Mr. and Mrs.

edit: i call children by their first name

techfreak85
May 26, 2009, 08:41 AM
I tuned out there. Most of what you think is grade ten is self centred, naive, and wrong. Case in point.
I'm in grade 10, and this is a big time in my life where ive really realized that the point of life is other people. Doing good. Helping out. and expecting them to never repay you, but they are extremely grateful. Our entire school just went out and did a community service day last weak.

when i was in HS it all depended on the teacher. some we would just call by his/her last name without the mr./mrs.
Same here. Thats what happens with our science teacher. "Verlo"

i call everybody mr. or mrs. unless i am told to otherwise, or dont know/remember their last name. have always done it since i was a kid. friends parents were Mr. and Mrs.

Same here. like at school. our pe we call him Lance not "Mr. ___". and it kinda goes back and fourth for our math teacher. His name is Bob. Just fun to say i guess. and his last name is the same last name as our VP and like 3 other staff.

Dagless
May 26, 2009, 08:49 AM
I still call my old school teachers Sir/Miss if I see them around town. Even the ones who were sacked for some rather serious offences.

notjustjay
May 26, 2009, 09:08 AM
When I was quite young (grade 5?) I just didn't understand our social conventions, and committed several errors in judgement. I really wanted to know the answer to something from her, so I (a) looked her name up in the phone book, (b) called her at home, and (c) asked for her by her first name. ("May I speak to Sarah please?") I distinctly remember hearing, in the background, her husband saying something like "there's a kid on the phone, asking for Sarah".

I was then (gently) taught a few little lessons about social interaction :)

I went back a few years ago to visit my old elementary school, and some of my teachers were still there. It was great to see them again, but they were still Mr. ___ and Mrs. ___ to me. One of my high school physics teachers has this annual Christmas brunch that she invites her alumni to. I still address her as "Ms. Hall" even though I'm sure she'd be comfortable with just being called her first name. It's just not something I'm comfortable doing.

Mavimao
May 26, 2009, 09:13 AM
When I used to teach, I'd go by "Mister Zane" (my first name). Mostly because my last name is so long and is prone to jokes and giggles in the classroom.

mscriv
May 26, 2009, 09:19 AM
I think the great and wise men of RUN DMC said it best:

"You see, I want respect, if I'm correct. They're all like a ball that I have checked..."

It's all a matter of perspective. If your outlook is self-centered in that you force others to "earn" your respect because everyone is equal and "you must prove to me that I should respect you" then you probably just don't get it.

As the lyrical sages above pointed out so eloquently, respect is all about what you show to others. The secret is that when you are others-focused instead of self-focused then you will actually build something called character. And, character is widely respected by everyone. :)

DakotaGuy
May 26, 2009, 09:37 AM
It shows respect and it is the right thing to do. A good teacher is not a student's friend, but a student's mentor. Whenever I have had students ask my first name at the beginning of the year I always respond "Mister" as a joke. Learning those common courtesies as a young person will go a long way when you get out into the big world and have a boss.

Tomorrow
May 26, 2009, 10:19 AM
Back when I was 25 years old, I took at job teaching at a tech school. I was told by my supervisors to always insist that the students call me Mr. _______. Yes, it's a sign of respect - and once that line is crossed, it seems relationships change, in a way that's not appropriate for a teacher and a student. That level of respect needs to stay there.

And many people touched on this, but if someone tells you to address them by a first name, or nickname, or whatever, that's fine. I'm 40 years old and to this day I address every adult I meet as Mr./Mrs./Miss _______ until they tell me otherwise.

walangij
May 26, 2009, 12:00 PM
I still call teachers that I had in high school who became good friends "Mr. _____" even though we will soon be academic equals. I still respect them and the job that they do.

michael.lauden
May 26, 2009, 12:01 PM
When I used to teach, I'd go by "Mister Zane" (my first name). Mostly because my last name is so long and is prone to jokes and giggles in the classroom.

HEHE JA I KNOE

emmawu
May 26, 2009, 07:59 PM
We always called our teachers by their surnames unless they were in a religious order then it was Sister or Father. They always called me by my surname with Miss in front of it. Boys were called by their surnames only.

Aeolius
May 26, 2009, 08:16 PM
I am now 43 years of age.

In elementary school, it was all "Mr. This" and "Mrs. That". My 6th grade teacher was Mrs. Philmon.

I went to a small quaker-oriented private school, for Jr High. We called teachers there by their first name. My favorite teacher there was Bob.

I then went to a college-prep high school where it was back to Mr., Mrs., and Dr. So-and-so, unless you were a senior and had one of Mr. Moore's classes, they you could call him "Wild Bill".

In college, my favorite professor was Omar. He insisted on all of his students calling him that. Omar was known to hang out in the local tavern with his students, to discuss course material in a more relaxed setting.

My 6th grade teacher found me on Facebook. I now call her Beverly.

Love
May 26, 2009, 11:21 PM
At my previous schools, our teachers would introduce themselves as first last, and then say you can call me Mr/Mrs.....

chstr
May 26, 2009, 11:28 PM
I teach High School and my students address me as doctor, since I have a doctorate. I don't ask them to they just do. I also adjunct at a college and my students call me Professor there.

oldschool
May 27, 2009, 12:52 AM
I tuned out there.



thats where I tuned out.

geekgirl
May 27, 2009, 09:03 AM
When I was in school, elementary through high school, it was a given that all teachers, principals, custodians, lunch ladies, everyone was Mr./Mrs./Ms./Miss. It was a huge adjustment going to college and having professors and TAs called by first names. I worked in the Physics library during my undergrad years, and still called everyone Prof/Dr./Mr/Ms, even if they said "Call me ___", because honestly, I could not call Dr. Van Allen by his first name (seriously, would you have been able to???).

Grad school was weird, because when I was a TA I could not get my students to call me by my first name, nor make them understand that I was neither a professor, nor married. I finally gave up, and let them call me Professor Girl, or Mrs. Girl. It was easier that way.

After I got my graduate degree, and began working for the same university, it took a long time before I was comfortable using professors' first names (except those that had become good friends). Finally, though, I realized that by continuing to use Prof/Dr., it was causing new faculty to misunderstand my position. Calling everyone (except the Dean of course!) by their first names has helped tremendously.

Of course, visiting professors and higher-ups are always President/Dean/Dr/Prof/etc unless they specify first names. :D When in doubt, always use the title! ;)

yojitani
May 27, 2009, 10:04 AM
I went to school in the UK. Up to GCSEs, we used ma'am and sir. From 6th Form onwards (16+), including university, we used first names. I returned to school recently, but in the US. I was surprised that despite Americans' beliefs to the contrary, people are more formal here.

The whole respect argument falls dead with me. If the only way you can command respect is through your name, then you may not deserve as much respect as you believe.

Tomorrow
May 27, 2009, 11:30 AM
The whole respect argument falls dead with me. If the only way you can command respect is through your name, then you may not deserve as much respect as you believe.

A name is not the only way to command respect, but it is one way to show respect.

There's a distinct hierarchy in a learning institution, whether it's grade school, high school, college, or otherwise. The teacher is in charge in the classroom and holds a higher position than the students; the use of Mr. or Mrs. in this case is entirely appropriate. It really isn't much different from organizations which use ranks, like military or police; the practice of addressing someone by rank, or "sir/ma'am" is part of recognizing that hierarchy.

jaydub
May 27, 2009, 12:04 PM
I guess those answers make sense. Still just seems so pre-1960 to me.
Not trying to be a smartass, but what does someone born in the 90s know about pre-1960s?

yojitani
May 27, 2009, 12:17 PM
A name is not the only way to command respect, but it is one way to show respect.

There's a distinct hierarchy in a learning institution, whether it's grade school, high school, college, or otherwise. The teacher is in charge in the classroom and holds a higher position than the students; the use of Mr. or Mrs. in this case is entirely appropriate. It really isn't much different from organizations which use ranks, like military or police; the practice of addressing someone by rank, or "sir/ma'am" is part of recognizing that hierarchy.

I don't really agree. To insist that students use your family name is asking for respect, it's got nothing to do with showing respect. Of course, there are situations when you need to defer to family name, but a classroom isn't one of them.

The analogy with the military etc. is precisely the reason that last names shouldn't be used in education. Education isn't, or shouldn't be, a hierarchy. I find it immensely offensive to be asked to kowtow to someone who feels they are of some greater importance so I typically do not unless there is some pressing reason.

There are ways of learning and showing respect in an educational setting that do not require recognition of a hierarchy. I have never allowed my students to use an honorific with me. Hierarchies are bad!:D

mscriv
May 27, 2009, 12:51 PM
I find it immensely offensive to be asked to kowtow to someone who feels they are of some greater importance so I typically do not unless there is some pressing reason.

What about the possibility of showing respect for someone's position or role as opposed to showing respect for them as an individual. For example, when I get pulled over by an officer of the law I try to be respectful in how I address them and I don't know anything about them personally. They may not deserve my respect in terms their personal life/choices, but I do have respect for their profession. And before you ask, of course I've never been "pulled over" in my life... ;)

maclover001
May 27, 2009, 01:28 PM
Not trying to be a smartass, but what does someone born in the 90s know about pre-1960s?

I pay attention in history class.

Prof.
May 27, 2009, 03:58 PM
Once you graduate, you can call them by their first name.:cool:

yojitani
May 27, 2009, 05:25 PM
What about the possibility of showing respect for someone's position or role as opposed to showing respect for them as an individual. For example, when I get pulled over by an officer of the law I try to be respectful in how I address them and I don't know anything about them personally. They may not deserve my respect in terms their personal life/choices, but I do have respect for their profession. And before you ask, of course I've never been "pulled over" in my life... ;)

Note the hedge of a "pressing reason'! There are plenty of people out there who have more power than us and want us to know it every second we are in their presence. I do believe in tact!