Do you address your dc's housemaster by his first name?

(21 Posts)
semideponent Tue 04-Oct-16 17:00:15

Just wondered what MN had to say. For background, DH and I are probably the youngest parents in the intake. We've always addressed teachers by title and surname.

Now we're knee-deep in a problem that needs sorting out, and working closely with said HM, who always signs off by first name. But addressing him the same way just doesn't come naturally to me. At the same time, I definitely don't want to seem stand-offish.

Any advice, anyone?

noblegiraffe Tue 04-Oct-16 17:09:57

As a teacher I sign off with my first name and would then expect parents to address me by my first name in future emails if we were in contact a lot.

Dancingdreamer Tue 04-Oct-16 19:17:11

First name if this is how he addresses you. The HM relationship needs to be closer than a traditional teacher. They have full care of your DC this means it is a less formal and friendly way to work together.

MrsBernardBlack Tue 04-Oct-16 19:32:42

First name. This was something initiated by him right from the get go, and I know other HMs in the school do the same.

semideponent Tue 04-Oct-16 19:35:51

Thank you so much, Noble, Dancing and Mrs Bernard. I don't know why I was so anxious about it, but there we are. I sent the email and used his first name, the ice is broken now.

BizzyFizzy Tue 04-Oct-16 19:44:09

I always sign off with my full name, but address the parents as Mr and Mrs. I expect to be referred to as Mrs Bizzy. If they reply using my Christian name, I sign off Mrs Bizzy.

BackforGood Tue 04-Oct-16 19:55:46

I address all staff at all my dcs school by their title and surname. I'm not their mate, it is a professional relationship.
Only exception is when my youngest was towards the end of Primary and I helped out with some fundraising and then organising some events, and the teacher rep on there - at the meetings preferred us to use her first name.

trinity0097 Tue 04-Oct-16 20:06:19

I don't mind once first contact has been made, if I didn't I would always sign off with Mrs Trinity.

Violetsarentalwaysblue Tue 04-Oct-16 22:18:03

I worked in a boarding houses for seven years at two schools one very liberal, one very traditional the relationship between house staff ( HM's AHM's matrons etc) and parents is completely different to that between between other teachers even at the same school. Nearly all parents called us by our first names and vice versa, we only adressed parents by the their surnames if we felt that's what they wanted/expected.
Backforgood is right to a certain extent you are not their "mate" but housestaff are supporting and caring for your DC often in partnership with you in a way you wouldn't in a day school, (I've worked in those as well), often in matters that are intensely personal and private, Ive worked with parents in a whole variety of situations, from life threatening illnesses, death of a parent, husbands running off with secretaries, wives running of with gym instructors and husbands suddenly announcing that they contemplating having a sex change, somehow it's hard to support a grieving child and his father if you call him Mr Jones all the time and he calls you Mrs Violet.
In one school the older pupils also referred to the HM by his first name when talking about him in conversation and by the end of yr 13 were using his first name in correspondence etc him.
If he's signed off emails etc using his first name and or spoken to you on the phone and said "hello it's Charles from George's House here" or something similar he's clearly inviting you to use his first name. If you carry on referring to him as Mr Bloggs it's likely he'll assume that you wish to be that formal and will start referring to you as Mrs Semideponent, this of course is fine if that's what you prefer, I don't see you age has anything to do with it, it's more of a cultural thing, we used to find that parents from Sout East Asia were significantly more formal and respectful.
Good luck with your problems I hope it's quickly sorted out.

homebythesea Wed 05-Oct-16 10:10:40

Ive never been comfortable with first names for staff at schools, even where I have been a Governor and therefore in theory a colleague! Ridiculous really..... DD will be going to a school next year where pupils call staff by first names and I'm sure I will find it very odd

t4nut Wed 05-Oct-16 12:06:31

Addressing the housemaster by name - goodness no. We get the Butler to deal with that sort of thing.

Dapplegrey1 Wed 05-Oct-16 13:06:25

The hm called me dapple. I called him Mr blah.

TheColonelAdoresPuffins Wed 05-Oct-16 13:09:00

Reminds me of the Inbetweeners episode when Simon Bird calls Mr Gilbert "Phil." smile
youtu.be/Crm1TgscHpo

bojorojo Wed 05-Oct-16 16:09:54

Always first name. Depends on the school though. If the HM igns themselves as a first name, that is the sign to use it!

HereIAm20 Thu 06-Oct-16 18:05:37

My husband (aged 50) still calls his Dad's partner Miss (Surname) because she was a teacher at his school despite the fact that she has been his Dad's partner for 33 years!

LockedOutOfMN Sat 08-Oct-16 22:26:05

I'm a teacher and always address parents by their title and surname(s). I find first names are friendly and I wouldn't want to tell my friends that their son or daughter has to leave the school. It's hard enough to say to parents anyway.

Violetsarentalwaysblue Sun 09-Oct-16 08:59:14

LockedOut out of interest are you a HM or a member of a boarding house team?

goinggetstough Sun 09-Oct-16 10:35:09

I was going to ask the same question Violets as I think there is a difference between being a teacher at a day school and a house parent. It is a slightly different relationship. We certainly called our DC's houseparents by their first names when speaking to them directly but referred to them as Mr & Mrs when talking with or to the DCs about them. Obviously though they were Mr and Mrs to start with.

schokolade Sun 09-Oct-16 15:44:13

I'd be led by them - if they call me Dr Schokolade, I will call them Title X.

I've had a few people (not teachers) try to call me Firstname and ask me to call them Title X. Not a chance...

LockedOutOfMN Sun 09-Oct-16 20:56:16

Violets DH and Head of Boarding

Violetsarentalwaysblue Sun 09-Oct-16 22:27:12

Lockedout I'm very surprised and this certainly isn't my experience. As I said above at both schools I worked at my overworked and long suffering HM's addressed the majority of parents by their first names and they did the same thing to him. Sadly over the years both had to tell parents on a few occasions that the likely outcome for their DC was that they would be asked to leave (in the schools I worked the parents were actually told face to face by the head but had been warned by their HM in advance), but even then he addressed the parents by their first names. Also in my experience schools only advise a child to find a more suitable school ask a child to leave with great sadness, after all it's the sin we hate no the sinner, and so often HMs continue to support a child and his parents after they've left, so first names terms are IMO entirely appropriate.
Secondly one would hope that it's far far more common for HM's and other boarding staff to be TLC/offering pastoral support to both pupils and parents, sadly in both schools I worked a pupil in the house died, sending shock waves throughout the boarding house community and also upsetting parents so it feels inappropriate to remain so formal.
My DC's also boarded, at a different school, and their HM made it very clear on the first day that as long as we were happy it would be first names terms from now on.
It's only a small thing in the grand scheme of the things but I do think it helps cement a good relationship between parent and HM, after all they are acting on our behalves, we are letting them look are the most precious things in our lives, as parents we need to have faith in them and feel a much stronger connection to them than we would to say someone who just teaches them math.

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