Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Please stop calling me that!

I chose to keep my maiden name for professional reasons, thinking maybe I could be Dr. UnmarriedName at work and Mrs. FamilyName at home (nod here to Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde). Well, that was too confusing, so now I'm just Dr. UnmarriedName or simply FirstName. I decided I would not be insulted if someone called me Mrs. FamilyName, especially if they cared in some way for my child/ren.

Everyone at Small Religious U calls their profs by their first name- very informal. I tell my students to please call me by my title: Dr. UnmarriedName. I tell them 1. It wasn't easy to get that title, so its an honor, and 2. In the "real world" you won't call clients / patients / health care professionals by their first names when in a business relationship with them. Since they don't ever get that practice in college (here), I am the one who will model that for them.

I then emphasize that it's not about power and distance, just professionalism.

I still get those few folks who call me Mrs. First Name. Not even Dr. First Name (like Dr. Phil... ) UGH!! I hate that! It's one thing that I'm called Mizzz FirstName at the day care-I tolerate it in that setting- but my marriage title and first name? As their professor?!?! SOOOOO not cool.

Now one of those students wants a recc from me. It's not a consequential recc and I was quite positive as Stu deserved, but I can't help but think that I may have answered the question "is open to new ideas" a little lower because despite repeated discussions, Stu could not call me anything other than Mrs. FirstName.


  1. New to your blog here, hello!
    That is very aggrevating. I wonder if it's a regional thing, because I really can't think of an instance where I have heard anyone addressing someone as "Mrs Firstname" in a semi professional setting. That is just odd

  2. I'm with ya. I hate hate HATE Dr Firstname, and I don't like undergrads whom I don't know at all to call me by my first name -- it's reserved for grad or undergrad students who know me very well and with whom I work closely.

    I'm all for Prof. LastName or Dr. LastName in the classroom