As societal norms relax, many have questioned certain traditions and whether they should be altered. One debate that has popped up recently is whether students should be allowed to call teachers by their first names.
Recently, a survey was sent to the students of Glenwood High School about whether it was okay for students to call teachers by their surname. Of the 233 student responses, 70.8 percent said that it would be okay for students to call teachers by their first name if the teacher was okay with it, while 18 percent said that students should never call teachers by their surname. The remaining 11.2 percent said that it should always be okay for students to call teachers by their first name.
Another survey was sent out to the teachers of Glenwood High School that asked them if they would be okay with students calling them by their first names. Of the 29 teachers who responded, 70 percent said that they would not be okay with students calling them by their first name, while 26.7 percent said that they think that students can call teachers by their first names if they are okay with it. Only 3.3 percent of the teachers said that it should be okay for students to call teachers by their first names under any circumstance.
“Calling someone something they don’t want to be called is really not nice,” said sophomore Chloe Russell. “Even if that thing happens to be their first name. If a teacher says it is okay, I don’t see why it wouldn’t be. If they don’t, you shouldn’t ever do it.”
One senior even gave an example of one teacher who was okay with not being referred to formally.
“With Mrs. Johnson, she doesn’t care if we call her Kathy J,” said senior Jordan Belt. “I just feel as long as we don’t mean any disrespect, it’s alright to go ahead and proceed with how you can go about addressing a teacher.”
Some students, however, think that you should always call teachers by their first name as a sign of respect.
“It is very rude and improper,” said senior Colton Schutte. “Teachers are our mentors and we should show them proper respect. Since there is an age difference and we aren’t working together and don’t know each other on a personal level, teachers shouldn’t be called by their first names by students.”
Many teachers don’t think that it is a good idea to allow students to call teachers by their first name.
“There’s a modicum of respect and professionalism that should be adhered to in referencing your teacher,” said one teacher who preferred to remain anonymous. “Essentially the teacher/student relationship is a precursor to the boss/employee relationship, and it requires a level of respect that students need to learn to give someone. The position the teacher holds is worthy of respect whether you think the individual teacher is or not.”
Some teachers that responded to the survey said that, while they wouldn’t be okay with students calling them by their first names, they would rather students call them by their preferred nickname.
“This question was hard for me to answer,” said instructor Kathy Johnson. “Because it doesn’t have an answer for me. I do not mind if kids call me ‘Kathy J’, but I do not like just ‘Kathy’. I think ‘Kathy J’ shows me respect and the students are great about following my preference.”