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18 February 2005: Name Calling (4 of 4)

What do you call your administrator? Are you expected to use a title or a last name? Or, are you comfortable using first names with them?

I've always felt that administrators who preferred to be called by their title and/or last name are struggling to maintain an authoritarian position. Like they just want to be sure that the teachers are all aware of the pecking order around campus. Requiring adult colleagues to refer to you formally seems to reinforce unspoken understandings about power and decision making.

Of course, principals who are more familiar with their teachers, in my observation, are the same principals who have enjoyed less resistance from staff in decision making and less separation from them as colleages. Coincidence? I think not.

Last thing: What do your students call you? I admit, my students call me by my last name, but after writing that last paragraph about "unspoken understandings about power and decision making" I find that I may reconsider it.

Are there other ways for students to show respect to a teacher than using her last name? Am I an effective enough teacher to warrent them?

teaching quote of the day

Tell me and I forget. Show me and I remember. Involve me and I understand.

- Chinese proverb

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