How Do You Address Parents?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Sagette, Oct 23, 2008.

  1. Sagette

    Sagette Companion

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    Oct 23, 2008

    When I speak with parents it's always formal Mr. or Mrs., Ms.,or Miss, but on notes and e-mails, parents always sign their first name and it feels weird then to reply with the formal even though I continue to do so. However, a parent with a child in my class and another child in another class e-mailed me and the other teacher. The other teacher addressed the parent by the first name so it got me wondering if it's okay to do so?
     
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  3. becky

    becky Enthusiast

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    Oct 23, 2008

    All during my 22 yr old's school career, his teachers called me 'Mrs B.' Even in the homeschool classes my 8 yr old takes, some of the teachers continue to call me 'Mrs B'. The ones who use my first name are very laid back.
     
  4. GatorGal

    GatorGal Cohort

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    Oct 23, 2008

    I always use Mr./Mrs.

    I don't think I've ever had a parent call me by my first name either.
     
  5. 3Sons

    3Sons Connoisseur

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    Oct 23, 2008

    Gaahhhh, this is annoying.

    I have exactly the same issue with my son's third-grade teacher. She always puts first and last name on emails and correspondence, but then I feel weird if she calls me up and refers to me with the honorifics.

    I think she's thinking exactly the same thing.

    We're both adults, working towards a common purpose. I would have no issue with her using my first name. It's just a weird subject to broach.
     
  6. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    Oct 23, 2008

    I use first names when I'm speaking directly to them. If I'm refering to them to the class, it's Mrs/Mr. But some want to be Mrs. First Name. Which is fine. But I do like the measure of respect in at least a Mrs./Mr. first.
     
  7. MsWK

    MsWK Habitué

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    Oct 23, 2008

    First names, but I'm at a first-names-only school.
     
  8. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    Oct 23, 2008

    I usually use first names simply because I never know if it's Mrs. Maiden name (after divorce) or Mrs. Married Name. Also, a lot of kids don't have the same last name as their parents, so it makes it even more confusing!!

    I do have one parent that calls me by my first name only. This drives me nuts because I know she's doing it to be disrespectful towards me. Ugh.
     
  9. each1teach1

    each1teach1 Cohort

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    Oct 23, 2008

    I always use Ms. Last name unless on their information sheet, they wrote Mr. and Mrs. So and so. I don't refer to them by their first names because I don't want them to think I'm too laid back or disrespectful since I'm only 5-7 years older than their kids and usually 15-25 years younger than they are. I try to stay formal in order to present an organized, effective, in control front. But like I said, it's because I'm so much younger than my parents.
     
  10. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    Oct 23, 2008

    I use Mrs./Mr. I have no relationship with any of my parents outside of the classroom, and if I contact them for any reason it is about school business.
     
  11. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Oct 23, 2008

    I solve this at open house by announcing to parents that my name is "Kim" to grownups, and "Mrs. Dodson" to children. And that in our classroom, that's how I usually addresss parents, too, unless they have another preference.
    Kim
     
  12. WaterfallLady

    WaterfallLady Enthusiast

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    Oct 23, 2008

    I call all parents by their last names. I usually sign my emails to parents with my first and last name, but I would feel strange if parents called me by my first name.
     
  13. catsos2

    catsos2 Companion

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    Oct 23, 2008

    I always use Ms. or Mr. with them, although I introduce myself by my first and last name. If I don't know their last name I call them Mom. Usually that's only in front of the kids. Oh yeah, and I'm at elementary :)

    I think that parents like to call us by our teacher titles because that is how they are used to talking about us with their kids. It's simpler to say, Hi Ms. So-and-So when you've been talking to your kids about Ms. So-and-So all year.

    Doesn't bother me either way.
     
  14. xmasqueen

    xmasqueen Rookie

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    Oct 23, 2008

    I also use Mr or Mrs or whatever the sir title is. It's a show of respect unless I know them personally....I have some faculty kids in my classes. Another teacher at my school calls everyone by their first name like they are personal friends. I don't like to be that familar with my student's parents because it takes away my professional status as far as I'm concerned. I live in the deep south and that may just be a southern thing but to me it is the way you show respect to someone unless they specifically ask to be called by their first name. Even then I would have a really hard time with calling a parent by their first name. We have student information sheets that state mom's last name, dad's last name and even grandma's, because sometimes they all have different last names. If I know I have to deal with a parent I make sure I look it up before the meeting...if it's a surprise visit I try to avoid their last name at all. lol
     
  15. maroki

    maroki Comrade

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    Oct 23, 2008

    In my 3 years teaching at my school, I've never once had a parent email me. Most of my families don't have internet access or email, so we write notes and speak on the phone. They usually address me as Mrs. in notes and on the phone, and I sign my letters and introduce myself that way. More than half of my students' families don't speak English, so I'm not sure how our parent advocate addresses them on the phone/in person. I know when I send home notes (translated), I still identify myself as Mrs.
     
  16. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Oct 23, 2008

    I always address parents as Mr./Mrs./Miss/Ms. Last Name. Even though I don't personally think it's disrespectful not to, we are taught as children to do so, and being younger than all of the parents I feel it is the polite manner.
     
  17. TampaTeacher

    TampaTeacher Comrade

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    Oct 23, 2008

    I use Mr./Ms. It seems like it's understood that you address the teacher in that fashion, so I'd feel rude not showing the same courtesy. Of course, that wouldn't apply if I had any sort of outside relationship with the parents (ie we see each other at the gym or are neighbors).
     
  18. Luv2Learn

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    Oct 23, 2008

    I would leave it at Mr. and Mrs. unless the parent wishes otherwise, however, on school grounds, I would still refer to them using their formal titles, just as I would expect them to do the same. The main reason is that I feel that it will promote (I hope) better manners for our children.

    It might be because of my generation or how I was brought up, but growing up, anyone that was a contemporary of my parents (i.e. adults), was Mr. and Mrs. and it is still very difficult to call my best friend's mom and dad by their first names (unlike another friend of hers! yesh). To me, it is just a sign of respect.

    BTW, my last two years I attended an alternate school through my high school that was very informal. We had four teachers and they insisted that we call them by the first name, it took me until almost mid-November before I could do that:lol::lol:
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2008
  19. SuzieQ

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    Oct 23, 2008

    It is weird when they call me by my first name but I do prefer the title. However with my student's parents I don't address them until I know what their last names are. My daughter has a different last name. It is akward for me when the teachers address me as Mrs with her last name. I will usually not embarress or correct them. But my husband who is not her biological father is very active in her school, conferences, back 2 school night, is quick to correct them.
     
  20. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Oct 23, 2008

    One of my colleagues had a parent do this last year. I was blessed to be in the hallway one day when the parent was trying to speak to her. The parent kept saying her name over and over again and the teacher just kept right on doing what she was doing...even to the point of walking away. Eventually, the parent got the hint.

    To the point of the post, I always use Ms. or Mr. I keep a list of parent names from the registrar's office, so I refer to that when needed. Like another poster said, I have no relationship with these people outside the school, so I prefer things to be kept formal.
     
  21. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Oct 23, 2008

    I had a professor that was VERY formal. In the world according to students, his first name was Dr. After that class, we became friends...lemme tell you how hard it was to switch to his first name.
     
  22. Sagette

    Sagette Companion

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    Oct 24, 2008

    Thanks, I'll keep it formal, unless I am specifically asked to do otherwise. Many of you stated that you do so because you are younger than the parents, but I am about the same age of many of parents (early to mid 30's) so maybe that's why it feels so awkward for me.
     
  23. sue35

    sue35 Habitué

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    Oct 24, 2008

    I always call them Mr. or Mrs. or Ms. Even if they email me with their first name. I have one parent who asked me to call her by her first name so I do that. The parents all call me by my last name or when they email me they don't address me at all! That makes me mad. I feel email should look like a letter.
     
  24. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    I have a couple of parents that are younger than me, but most are about the same age. I still address them formally.
     
  25. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    Oct 24, 2008

    At back to school I do the same thing by saying I am called Ms by the children and first anme by the adults. So many parents have different last names it is hard to tell who they are and then on e-mail if they sign with their first name I sometimes don't know who it is that is sending me the e-mail and thus I have to respond by first name.
     
  26. kidsandpups

    kidsandpups Companion

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    Oct 25, 2008

    For me it depends on the parent. The parents I see more often and know better I address by their first name. (Usually this is after they've signed a note or e-mail to me by their first name.) I tell all parents that they may call me by my first name if they wish. I feel strange having adults 10-20 years older than me calling me Mrs.
     
  27. HMM

    HMM Cohort

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    Oct 25, 2008

    I think it is important to keep that formal distance.

    When I talk to another faculty/staff member I go by my first name. With students (I don't have contact with parents, though if I did I would keep it formal) it is always Dr. _____

    One of the secretaries from a different department than mine took a class with me last semester. Before the class started she referred to me by my first name, but once the semester started it was Dr.
     

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