Isn't it time we dropped that whole "Miss" thing for teachers?

At the start of this year, my daughter’s new class teacher bounded up to me. (Yes, she actually bounded. She’s that young and fit.) She introduced herself by her first name and started chatting.

It was the first time one of my children’s teachers hadn’t expected me to call her “Miss”. I mean, really. Why should I call teachers “Miss”, anyway? They’re usually about half my age. and, to be honest, I’m paying their wages through my taxes.

I realised how good it felt to call my daughter’s teacher by her first name. It felt like she and I were in this together. We were going to work together to make sure my daughter got a good education. (It’s turned out something like that. My daughter’s teacher is pretty amazing.)

It made me think about how few people I call “Miss” or “Mrs” or “Mr” nowadays. No one, in fact, except other teachers and the school principal. My kids don’t call anyone outside the school “Miss” or “Mrs” or “Mr”. My kids’ friends call me by my first name.

Schools have changed in some ways, but not in others. Kids will still run on the asphalt when they're told not to.

It’s funny how in some ways our schools have entered the 21st century and in other ways they’re still stuck in the 1950s. Kids use iPads in class and give talks using PowerPoint, but at the same time, they’re expected to stand respectfully in front of the flag and sing the national anthem. That's really old-school. Literally.

Teaching methods have changed a lot in the last few decades. I went to a Catholic school in the late 1970s, and we just accepted that teachers would hit us whenever they felt like it, whether we deserved it or not. (I still remember the times I got hit and didn’t deserve it.) If we were lucky, we got given 100 lines to write out instead. Teachers picked on certain students and humiliated them, while others were their pets. That’s just the way it was.


Thankfully, it's not that way anymore. Teachers aren’t feared the way they used to be. And they shouldn’t be. A teacher is one of the most important people in a child’s life. Children should feel that they can trust their teacher, and that their teacher really cares about them. Some children don't have a lot of other trustworthy, caring adults in their lives.

Here's a video about funny teachers. Post continues after video.

I remember the first time I was ever on first-name terms with a teacher. It was in Year 10 drama. “Call me Emily,” the teacher told our class. I loved drama already, but I loved it even more after that. I tried harder than ever to do well. I felt respected and valued, and I wanted her to know how much I appreciated that.

It’s time to fully drag schools into the 21st century and bring them into line with what’s happening in the real world. Let’s let kids call teachers by their first names. Classrooms won’t collapse in chaos, just like they didn’t collapse in chaos when corporal punishment was banned.

Let’s make schools that little bit warmer and friendlier and more caring. Let’s give “Miss” a miss.

Do you think kids should call teachers by their first names?