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Re: Courtesy Titles: Important or Overblown?

For years, I have been called by my first name in many medical situationsm often by youngsters.  A couple of weeks ago, when I was in, briefly, for a colonoscopy, the op. room nurse, actually asked beforehand, what I would like to be called.  That left me with a really good feeling.

In some local families, the custom is to call teachers by their first names as soon as they 'graduate' from 8th grade [the end of our local elem].  But in high school, they do use Mr./Mrs./Miss/Ms.  directly to a teacher-----but, I suspect, last name solo when talking with friends/family----as we did.  Other former students still call me by Mrs. for years, as do their parents.  I don't ask for a change, unless it is someone whom we see frequently, socially.  In schools, here, all teachers/aides are addressed by titles, although there was a time when first names were used for spec. ed. aides, volunteers, etc.  I think first names are still often used in pre-K situations.  Some classroom teachers with difficult names, often have kids use their title/last initial-----as in Miss F., which works well for both sides.  Eventually, on their own, the kids are able to use the full name. 

When I first started college, we were called Miss/Mr. by our professors.  When one is called this, there is a certain amount of 'rising to the occasion,' in terms of personal decorum.  I admit it, I did a certain amount of this with kids-----& they loved it----you could see them sort of gather themselves together before speaking.  But----in my first teaching situations, it was quite difficult for me to call other teachers by first name. 

While growing up, the custom for relatives was to use the terms, Aunt, Uncle, etc.  Some people also insisted that their children call close friends by this, as well, but mine did not.  It was mutual between them & the closest ones, that the children use first names [but still, always, show respect].  This also seemed to be the case with some neighbors.  But----one always went by the preferred name/title, & did not take first names for granted!  I think it is leaving this choice to the person being addressed, which  is important, as well as the showing of due respect/deference----whatever you wish to call it. 

One thing I've noticed in nursing homes, is the lack of respect/consideration for the actual person----which is very hard on those who have maintained clarity of mind.  This was a constant battle my mother faced----not the name thing, but rather, being treated like a real person who still counted for something! 

"A school is four walls with tomorrow inside."                                            

 CS                                                                       

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