Do you call your ex teachers "Sir" or "Mrs" if you meet them on an equal footing ?

I always find it odd when I bump in to an ex pupil who might now be an adult, that they still refer to me as "Sir" or "Mr Starling", when in some cases I know their parents and they know me as simply "Nich". But recently I realised that I do it too.

About a few months ago I went to a Lib Dem training session in Cambridge and was sat down next to a tall thin chap who looked familiar, so I assumed I had seen him at other Lib Dem things. We then had to introduce ourselves to the group and he stood up and said "Hello, I'm Graham and I'm a retired headteacher". Suddenly it dawned on me "Oh my god, you're Mr Porter !" I blurted out in a none to subtle way. You see, Mr Porter was deputy head of my old school where he later went on to be headteacher before retiring.

He seemed to remember me, which I am not sure is a good thing, but all day I had to keep remembering to call him "Graham" and not Mr Porter.

Then today, I was on a PE course with other teachers, and the leader of the course introduced herself and I suddenly realised she was a games teacher at my old high school. She then spoke to our group and I found it very hard indeed not to call her "Mrs Stewart". Again, she had a good idea who I was.

So even as a teacher, you'd imagine I would know better, but I just cannot help but want to keep referring to them as I would have addressed them in school.

I guess I am lucky in that the teachers I had were, in the main, very decent teachers who always tried their best and were approachable. In many ways they showed respect and that is why I still want to show respect and call them by their proper title.

I remember about 15 years ago when I went with my family to the "Village Show" back in the village my father was brought up in. Standing in one tent, like an officer on inspection duties was the old head teacher of the Grammar School. My father remembered him well. My father used to tell us that his head teacher would say to him over and over "You will never amount to anything, you will go to work on a bike and will live in this village all your life". My father took great pleasure in telling the old man, stood their in the doorway like some important patriarch that he was wrong. Not surprisingly, a man who had showed so little respect for my father years before was simply referred to by his surname, no mention of "Mr".

So I guess I should be happy that ex pupils refer to me as "Mr". I think it shows that if you show respect you get it back.


JRD168 said...

It's happened to me both ways: ex-pupils now in their late teens or twenties calling me "Sir". I've also met former teachers of mine on courses and the like. Both circumstances are strange!

Alfie said...

I ran into an old teacher once. Yes, old 'Twat-features' had hardly changed a bit.