What’s in a Name?


Aaron Moore, Staff Writer

Names are our way to identify different things and people; we have legal names, nicknames, and even usernames. Some people like to be referred to by certain names which can sometimes be challenging to figure out. When talking to adults in America, it is common courtesy for children to refer to them as sir, ma’am, or to use their last name and title. Dr. Foley is a teacher here at St. Andrew’s who often is a victim of being called by the wrong title. “It is a form of greeting that one uses not only here in a school setting, but also outside in the broader society” Foley said. “For example if you are at a doctors office, unless you really know that doctor socially as a friend you will refer to that person as Dr. so and so. If you are at a conference you will refer to someone you meet as ‘Mr.; ‘Mrs.; ‘Miss; or ‘Doctor.’ Again, unless you know that person personally. I think it is very important. It is a form of respect.”

Schools across the globe vary when it comes to how adults are addresed In the Netherlands students are encouraged to address their teacher by their first name because it encourages equality. In Brazil students often address their teachers as “tio or “tia”which translates to “aunt” and “uncle.” This is seen as a great sign of respect in Latin America when younger people refer to adults using a family noun. In France and Germany how you address your teacher depends on your age.  At St. Andrew’s Episcopal School we have a variety of faculty with different titles which we are expected to use. We have people who go by ‘Mrs.; ‘Ms.; ‘Mr.; ‘Coach; and ‘Doctor’.

“My creditors call me Mr. Foley. It doesn’t really bother me,” Foley said. ”I get mail delivered to me that says Mr. or Dr. and it’s a big improvement over ‘current resident’ So I will gladly take Mr. over that. It’s fine with me when people use the title Mr. instead of Dr. My feeling is generally you go with the title that someone is known.”  

 When we as students fail to use these titles it  can sometimes be taken as a form of disrespect to certain adults. 

“I do believe that we should show respect to adults and to those in a higher position, but I also think that sometimes it isn’t that serious,” an anonymous student said. “I know that sometimes we as students may forget or be confused as to what titles we use for certain teachers, but I do believe that some adults here at St. Andrew’s get too offended by it.”