How can I call a person who teaches me English, because I always called him teacher, and yesterday my sister said me that it is incorrect, that I have to called him Mr. + last name. Is that true? Can you explain me, please? I am a English student from Argentina and normally we called them "teacher".

  • Welcome to ELL! Please, don't write your title in capital letters only. It is harder to read and people might interpret it as 'shouting'.
    – Glorfindel
    Jul 15, 2016 at 18:17
  • Is this classroom or individual instruction? And what is the level of formality that the teacher would expect?
    – user3169
    Jul 15, 2016 at 18:55
  • BTW "my sister told me that it is incorrect". You can search other posts on ELL to get a better idea about say vs. tell.
    – user3169
    Jul 15, 2016 at 18:57
  • Read this and see if it answers your question: ell.stackexchange.com/questions/77505/…
    – stangdon
    Jul 15, 2016 at 19:42

2 Answers 2


In an English school the students would normally address their teachers as your sister suggests:

Mr Jones

Miss Jones

Mrs Jones

or if they have a doctorate

Dr Jones

If you are being taught on a one-to-one basis then initially you could use those forms of address as a mark of respect. It is possible that the teacher may suggest to use their first name - my wife is a tutor and she tells her pupils to use her first name.

In the UK we rarely use the persons role as a form of address, so we would not say




However, some formal schools do use the titles of certain positions

Yes, Headmaster

Thank you Matron

This is not common in today's schools.

  • 1
    Just adding some caveats about America. Rarely, if ever, do we call women Miss X – if they're unmarried or retain their last name from before marriage we use "Ms." (said /mɪz/). In the formal schools I know of we usually call people Mr./Ms./Mrs./Dr. X regardless of how old and prestigious the school is.
    – eijen
    Jul 15, 2016 at 18:54

In some schools teachers are called "Mr ..." or "Mrs ....", using only their title and surname. (Other titles such as Dr, Miss, Ms are common. The teacher would tell their class what they expect to be called.)

In other schools, teachers are called "Sir", "Ma'am" (pronounced "mahm") or "Miss". Whether names are used is part of the culture and ethos of the school Similarly whether female teacher are called Miss or Ma'am varies from school to school. Larger schools, are more likely to use "Sir". Since the pupils won't know the names of all the teachers. Use of "Sir" is therefore more common in city schools than in smaller rural ones.

A few schools, such as those following Steiner system of education, use first names.


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