Thursday, February 25, 2010

What's In a Name?

At my kids’ school, there are some specific rules, especially in the older grades. For one thing, all the students must shut their mouths and stand whenever an adult enters the room. I didn’t find this odd as it is a sign of respect I thought still took place but apparently it’s not the case.

The other instance is addressing the teachers. Now I personally try very hard to make my kids include each comment, answer, request, etc. with a ‘m’am’ or ‘sir’. Again, something I found common and here in Texas, pretty common. The school is not different. Now there are times students feel very comfortable when the teacher says a joke or the classroom atmosphere gets relaxed.

The other week, one of the boys in Miley’s class addressed the teacher as ‘dude’ as in ‘dude, I had the right the answer’. Immediately, the teacher asked ‘Did you just call me dude?’ and the boy slowly nodded his head. The teacher then said, ‘Sit down and see me after class’. The boy ended up getting written up-- a very big deal at our small school.

My first thought was the teacher was a bit extreme. I see kids in public addressing older people in that manner often--it kind of creates a more familiar, relaxed relationship.

Does it really matter if you call an adult ‘sir’ or ‘dude’?

Well, that depends on the relationship you want. When a child addresses you with a formal title, it keeps in mind who is in charge but when you start to speak as ‘friends’, the person is charge is up for grabs. And the adult’s authority goes out the door.

I am personally a big believer in not being my child’s friend--I am her biggest fan, her biggest helper, her biggest admirer---not a friend. She can walk out the door and get a friend. She can’t just get a new parent.

As a parent (and also part-time home school teacher), I know it is critical to have her respect. I don’t have her respect, she won’t listen. She doesn’t listen and all is lost.

It’s that simple.

So no, a teacher should not be called ‘dude’ or ‘buddy’ or by her first name. Beside the full last name (with the Mr. or Mrs. of course), the only thing that really works is ‘sir’ or ‘ma’m’.

And that is my soap box for today.


Audrey at Barking Mad said...

I absolutely agree with you.

I'm always a bit gobsmacked that people seem to nonchalant about letting Gaby call them by their first names and I try to correct it in front of them to let them know that I'd like her to show the proper respect by using Miss/Mrs/or Mr and not use their first names.

Not only that but it gives children, like you said, a false sense of familiarity and friendship that needs to be replaced with authority.

I didn't even like the fact that back at Gaby's Montessori in Maine they let the kids use "Miss Joyce", "Miss Nikki" etc. I wish they would have used Miss and then a surname. Uhg!

Great post!

Kristen said...

I mostly agree with you.
We are transplants...My family moved to Alabama when I was 6, so we were schooled in the ways of Ma'am and Sir. It was a bit odd for my parents, who were not raised that way. Now that I have a young boy, I am teaching him Ma'am and Sir.

But getting a write up for a slip of the tongue...that seems a little harsh. I would think that a brief conversation after class would have sufficed.

I guess I say that in his defense, because I sometimes slip up and call my husband "dude" in that manner, and it irritates the snot out of him.

Oh well...Thanks Lisa, I enjoy reading your blog...even if I dont comment very often.

Motherhood for Dummies said...

%100 agree. I feel like kids these day lack a lot of respect for people in general. Addressing people in a respectful way is a nice excersice for children to practise.

Susan said...

I'm confused on this... it seems like adults these days go by Miss/Mr and then their first name. I do this also, I guess I just go with the flow. I think I will try to change and have my kids use Mr/Mrs and the last name. My kids now usually just say Ella's mom or Kayla's mom.... Interesting blog.

Anti-Supermom said...

What a great post, Lisa. I agree with you - and you said it so well!

Sabrina said...

It makes me cringe to hear kids say "huh" or "yeah" or "dude" to an adult...icky!