Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Addressing Parents/Caregivers

Now that we are back to school I have met a LOT of parents, and I will meet many more tomorrow and next week at our open houses!!  Many I met yesterday when they came in with the kindergartners.  I was immediately reminded that we must be be professional at the school, when a grandparent came up to me and introduced herself as so and so's grandmother, Abby.  She immediately told me I could call her that.  I introduced myself as Ms. Birster and explained to her that I don't call parents by their first name.  I asked her what her last name was and she again said I could call her Abby.  Finally I said, I'm sorry,  but I was raised to called people by their formal title.  She then reluctantly said her name was Mrs. So and So.

Maybe it's my 12 years of Catholic school talking, but I feel that as professionals working in the school, we should address parents/caregivers as Mr., Mrs., Dr., Rev., etc. not as Abby.  I always correct the students if they answer the question "who's your teacher?" with "Jones."  I have them repeat after me "it's Mrs. Jones."  I think that sets the tone for RESPECT in your building.  

I think that when you are on a first name basis with parents, as school counselors, you lose some credibility and authority as a school professional.  It also sets a clear boundary that we are not friends, but school personnel.

How do you address parents and how you do have them address you?      

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