Looking to drop the traditional Mr. or Ms. with your students this year? Here are five alternatives to teacher honorifics:
1. Last Name Only
Probably the most common alternative to the traditional “Mr./Ms. [Last Name]” is allowing students to refer to you just by your last name feels. It’s slightly more relaxed and informal but still retains a level of professionalism if your school administrators prefer to maintain that distance in teacher/student interactions.
2. First Name Only
Many school districts already allow teachers to choose this option if they wish, and, in some schools, especially ones teaching younger students, referring to teachers by their first names is the norm. For some, however, this one can feel too informal. It can lead to students feeling a bit too comfortable and relaxed with their teacher, so it might be best to try this one only if you have your classroom management skills solidly in place. Additionally, requiring the use of your first name might be uncomfortable for students who have been raised to show respect to their elders through the use of titles and honorifics. Make sure you give these students a choice so that they feel welcomed in your classroom.
3. Mr./Ms. First Name
A happy medium between the traditional Mr./Ms. [Last Name] and first name only is asking students to call you Mr. or Ms. [First Name]. The Mr./Ms. creates the professional distance that many teachers like to keep between themselves and their students, while the use of their first name creates the feeling of warmth and informality that so many educators want in their classrooms. This one tends to be more popular in the preschool and primary grades, but there’s no reason it couldn’t work at the middle or high school level.
4. Mx. Last Name (or First Name)
The new kid on the honorific block is the gender-neutral Mx. (pronounced “mix”). Although teachers, students, and parents may be less familiar with it, teachers who use Mx. report their students and families are quick to adapt. Find more gender-neutral honorifics here.
5. Coach/Teach or Other Nickname
If you actually are a coach, this might be a great alternative to the traditional honorifics. It’s a bit less formal while still maintaining the respect and professional distance many schools require. The less-formal “Teach” works in the same way that referring to your students as “scholars” or “learners” might, but it could be tricky to introduce at the start of the school year.
Know of more alternatives to teacher honorifics? Please share in the comments!