Can we use the word teacher as a form of address to our teacher?
As in "Excuse me, teacher! Can I ask a question"
I've heard different forms of address like sir, or Mr. Connor, ...
Doesn't calling your teacher "teacher" sound weird or maybe not appropriate?

  • 1
    I think the word is professor in most cases.
    – Schwale
    Commented Dec 31, 2015 at 22:12
  • @Subjunctive what if the student is studying in first grade?! Commented Dec 31, 2015 at 22:14
  • Haha, that's far-fetched. In that case kids are allowed to say Mr./Mrs.
    – Schwale
    Commented Dec 31, 2015 at 22:15
  • 4
    @Subjunctive little kids regularly call their teachers "teacher"... But I'm pretty sure that stops by the time they hit middle school. I hear ELL people (adults) say it all the time and, I'll admit, it's a pet peeve... something I don't like at all.
    – Catija
    Commented Dec 31, 2015 at 22:17
  • 1
    I agree with Catija: it sounds like something that little kids say.
    – stangdon
    Commented Dec 31, 2015 at 23:01

2 Answers 2


I believe your question is motivated by wanting to show appropriate respect.

From my experience, addressing the person who teaches your classes as teacher is usually used by the very young or those learning English. I assume the latter use it since they believe it is a title, which it is not in English based countries but may be considered as such in other cultures.

Usually a surname preceeded by Mr., Mrs., Ms. (AmE) or Miss is most appropiate inside and outside a university setting. Miss is used regardless of martial status in BrE during nursery.

In university, Professor is appropriate for those in that position. If a higher title is involved then Dean, Provost, President, etc. followed by a surname should be used.

During examinations, Proctor can be used without loss of respect or understanding.

I have always used Mr., Mrs., Ms. with the appropriate surname even when a given name was offered.

Having said all this, it has not been unheard of for certain teenagers to have used the salutation

Yo Teach!

as shorthand for

Hello Mrs. Corbett. How are you today?

  • Generally, I'd use titles like Mr., Mrs, Miss, and Ms with a last name or a full name (e.g., Mr. Johnson or Mr. Paul Johnson), but not just with a first name (e.g, Mr, Paul) or alone (e.g, Hello, Mr.). However, I hear people use them alone, with no full name or last name (You're wrong, Mr.!) in a slightly angry way or a humorous way, and with a first name (Mr. Paul) in a humorous way. What do you think? Commented Jan 1, 2016 at 8:54
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    If the teacher's full name is Paul Smith, using Mr. Smith would be used by a native speaker, Mr. Paul would not. A student should never address their teacher as simply Mr., it would be disrespectful. You're wrong Mr.! could be used (in the way that you suggest) among peers or by a teacher-to -student but should not be used by a student to a teacher. BTW, addressing by only using surnames is used among peers or teacher-to-students in public (BrE) school settings.
    – Peter
    Commented Jan 1, 2016 at 9:04
  • What about outside the school context? I remember in the TV show 'Friends' when Ross and Rachel got married drunk, they called each other Mr. Ross and Mrs. Rachel (first names only). Is it the way you use them in a humorous way or is it just because they were drunk?! Commented Jan 1, 2016 at 9:15
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    They were drunk and that's why Mr. / Mrs. first-name is humorous in contrast the usual surname. A possible subtext is also that Rachel had an independent character and by not using Ross' surname it showed her continued independence. What does happen (in real life) is the groom might look at his bride and say "Hello Mrs. groom's surname " since it will be the first time she has been addressed that way (assuming she has taken on her husband's name).
    – Peter
    Commented Jan 1, 2016 at 9:30

Is it possible? Sure, the ability for it to be done is there.

Is it likely to be effective? Likely not as most teachers on their first day introduce themselves with a form of address to be used. Thus, I would refrain from doing it but I could imagine it being done infrequently.

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