Teachers Shift to First Name Basis


Book recommendations now appear in classroom doorways thanks to Katelin Grande and Monica Zimmers. Teachers’ preferences for first/last names vary door to door.

Johanna Doyle and Cameron Cassano, Author

Teachers have first names?! Mind blowing.

Although teachers have always had the option to be referred to by their first names, this year, some teachers decided to make the shift. It all happened when Ed Davenport sent out an email at the beginning of the year reminding teachers they had the choice to be called by their first names.

“The BLPT (Building Level Planning Team) conducted some research, and reached out to some schools that allow students to use first or last names to make sure there was no policy prohibition and that there was requirement on how students address teachers, which there was not,” Davenport said. 

The faculty seems to be pretty split. Some teachers think that we should keep the formality of last names and honorifics, while other teachers think we need to lose that formality.

Gideon Moor explained to us why he chooses to be called by his first name. He attended a school that used first names only and said he had “very fond memories of that experience”, and he felt it also resulted in “strong(er) relationships with those teachers.”

Moor also feels there is a power disparity between students and teachers in today’s education system.

He said a solution to this is “removing whatever obstacles or barriers you can remove to put students at ease. “Steps that empower them to share their thoughts and feel valued should be taken,” Moor said.

Senior Dante McClinchey mentioned he feels like it is disrespectful to call teachers by their first names.

“They’re adults why would we call them by their first names? It’s going to take some getting used to,” McClinchey said.

Davenport told us there is no defined right or wrong way.

“If teachers wish to be addressed by their first names that’s perfectly acceptable, or if teachers wish to be addressed with an honorific and their last name that is perfectly acceptable,” Davenport said.

It’s a matter of respecting what the teacher wants.

Mr. Rocco told us he wants to keep being called Mr. Rocco because that is what he has always been called.

But he and all the other teachers made it clear, as Ed Davenport said, it is up to the personal preference of the teacher.