Friday, September 17, 2010

Should Children Call Teachers By Their First Names?

Sarah Ebner asked the question, "Should Students Call Teachers by their First Names?" on her SchoolGate blog the other day, so I decided to ask some of the Classroom Canada and Classroom America teachers on facebook what they thought.  Here are their replies:

Tom:  I was 100% FOR students calling teachers by their first name, but after teaching for awhile I now think it's important that students address teachers in a formal way. It's significant in the context of the student/teacher relationship. It helps solidify the teacher's position of authority.
Krystal: Depends what you're teaching. In a formal classroom setting I definitely want my students to address me formally but I also teach private music lessons and to my piano kids I'm just "Krystal", it's a more casual relationship & I don't have to be as authoritative. 
 Corie: I think it depends on the teacher, and on the class.
Taylor: Interesting... I am 50/50 - definitely depending on the situation - school... students etc.
Gina:  I was just thinking about that today...I am not a friends call me 'Daniela'...they (the students) are not your friends...too personal ...
Tom: Definitely, in a classroom setting, a first-name basis is a bit too "buddy-buddy" for me. I also give private music lessons and in those situations I am definitely "Tom." But no in the classroom...
Bryn:  No one can pronounce my last name, but do I think a certain degree of formality is important. I like it best when I get to go by Miss Bryn.
I love a good debate on teaching issues.  Here's what I replied on Sarah Ebner's blog:
Great Post Ms Ebner, wooops, I mean Sarah! ;-)
Seriously though, I do agree. I loved it when students would call me by my first name. It only happened occassionally while teaching across London schools, but whenever I found a school with such a policy I found the students to be more respectful and well behaved. It was a surprise, and a real treat!

I'm all for it. Especially this quote: "Respect isn't about what you're called; it's not about a title," he said. "It's about behaviour. If a teacher can't form a meaningful relationship with a child then that child won't behave. It's nothing to do with what they're called." Well said!
So what do you think?  Should children always call teachers by their first names, or are you "50/50" like Taylor above?  Or should they always use our last names?  And why?  Please share your two cents below.

Resources for Teaching in London
Classroom Canada website
Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians ebook
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1 comment:

  1. It's interesting because I actually just started teaching at a school with a first name policy, and the students ARE more respectful and well behaved. Not sure if there's a causation relationship there, though. I get the sense the students are more middle class than the other schools I've worked in.


Thanks for sharing your two pence!


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