Is it Rude to Call Your Teacher by Their First Name?

How students address their teachers vary due to different factors. For example, how students call their educators in one country may be different from another.

Additionally, how students address their teachers in elementary schools is different from colleges and universities.

That said, is there a standard way of calling teachers? In addition, is it rude to call your teacher by their first name?

Read through this article to get an answer to these questions and get an insight into the proper ways to address our educators.

Is it Rude to Call Your Teacher by Their First Name?

It is not rude to call your teacher by their first name. In various countries and cultures, however, addressing a teacher by their first name would seem rude unless the teacher chooses to be called by their first name.

In many countries, teachers are still being addressed as Mr. Miss, Madam, sir, or simply teacher, followed by their last names.

Students, in particular elementary, middle, and high school students, are not encouraged to call their teachers by their first names. This is because of the notion that teachers in those schools should not be their students’ friends, rather they should be their role models.

Also see: Is it wrong to buy an essay?

Additionally, addressing teachers using honorifics denotes respect and authority. It is widely conceived that calling teachers by their first name would crumble the respect, and it would therefore become difficult to maintain order with the students, especially teenagers.

However, it is only rude if you address your teacher in a manner that they are not comfortable with.

For example, don’t call your teacher by their first name if they prefer being addressed using honorifics. Liaise with your teacher on how best to address them and stick to the name.

Is it Disrespectful to Call teachers by Their First name?

It is not disrespectful to call your teachers by their first name. In fact, most teachers today are shying away from the use of titles and honorifics because they consider them as old school, a practice that continues to be adopted worldwide.

Some educational specialists are of the idea that the freedom of students calling their teachers by their first names solidifies the teacher-student relationship.

This approach eradicates the communication and language obstacles and allows for better and personalized learning.

It is however crucial to note that teachers should not allow their students to overstep into the created bonds and over familiarize with them. This practice could erode the respect between and tamper with the working relationship.

Do You Have to Call Your Teacher by Their Last Name?

You have to call your teachers, lecturers and professors by their last name. Teaching is a profession of high authority and should be treated with respect and professionalism.

If your teacher prefers to be called by their first name and without an honorarium, go ahead and call them that.

In most schools, it has been a tradition in public education institutions for students to call their teachers by their last names with a Ms., Mrs., Mr., Madam, or Ma’am. The main reason for this approach was to bring about formality and authority in addressing teachers.

However, with changing times, the manner in which teachers are addressed has evolved significantly. Teachers deserve to be accorded with respectful behavior because they occupy significant status in schools.

Also see: Is it wrong to pay essay writing companies to do your work?

However, they can only earn respect from their students by first respecting their students and exhibiting respectable behaviors and professionalism.

That said, teachers should be accorded utmost respect at all times. Addressing them by their first or last names should be a matter of their individual preferences.

Proper Way to Address a Teacher or a Professor

A proper way to address a teacher or a professor would solely depend on the countries and cultures that we come from.

Additionally, the teacher’s or the professor’s preference of how they should be addressed should guide you on the appropriate name to call them.

In the world today, most teachers still prefer to be addressed using their honorifics but to some, titles and formalities don’t really matter.

Such teachers would accept any of their names as long as you address them in a courteous and professional manner.

Also see: Is Cheating Bad In College?

Below is a list of some of the widely accepted and proper ways to address your teacher or professor.

  1. Mister or Miss/Mistress.

These are appropriate manners to address a teacher in schools or countries that still maintain the traditional way of addressing educators. This approach involves stating the title plus either the first name or the teacher’s last name. For example, Mr. William, Ms. Catherine, or Mrs. Smith.

You are discouraged to use these titles when addressing a professor. It would sound disrespectful considering the time spent while studying and their experience.

  1. Teacher

You may address your teacher as simply “teacher” if they are comfortable with it. In many Asian countries such as China, Japan, South Korea, and Latvia students simply address their teachers as simply, teacher.

  1. Professor

You can apply this name when your educator is an associate professor, assistant professor, clinical professor, or a research professor. You would address the instructor as professor plus their first or last name. Calling them just professor would also be fine.

  1. Doctor

If you are not sure of how to address a lecturer, an Adjunct lecturer, a research associate, or a senior lecturer, use the prefix Dr. and include their last name. This is the most respectful way to call an academic you don’t know well.

  1. First Names

Avoid calling your teacher or professor by their first names unless they instruct you to. Some educators would find that very impolite.  However, if your educator prefers to be addressed by their first names, address them that way courteously.

For Male teachers

When addressing male teachers, some of the most appropriate ways to do so are;

  • This honorarium is mostly used with male teachers in elementary, middle school, and high school. State the honorific and the teacher’s either first or last name.
  • This name should be applied when you don’t know the teacher’s specific names.

Also see: Is copying homework cheating?

For female Teachers

  • Miss/Mistress. State the honorarium plus the teacher’s name. Miss is mostly used to address female teachers that are not married, while Mrs. addresses married female teachers.
  • Madam/ Ma’am. This is a respectful way of addressing a female teacher that you don’t know their specific names.

Can Parents Call Teachers by Their First name?

Parents can call teachers by their first name. This situation should only apply when you have an established relationship with the teacher, or the teacher prefers to be addressed by their first names.

In case the teacher is new to you, for a good teacher-parent relationship, maintain to addressing them as Mr., Ms., or Mrs. plus their last name.


A student-teacher relationship can be significantly affected by how the student calls the teacher, and vice-versa. A respectful way would be addressing your teacher using their honorariums and their last names, but a question would be asked; Is it rude to call your teacher by their first name?


how to address teachers