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How should i address an instructor?

arkbroarkbro Posts: 43- Junior Member
edited October 2011 in Parents Forum
One of my college classes is taught by an older graduate student. Would it be alright to address him as 'Professor?' I'm uncomfortable with calling him 'Mr. X' because it doesn't seem right, on the other hand isn't the title Professor reserved for those with PhD's?
Post edited by arkbro on

Replies to: How should i address an instructor?

  • LGSMomLGSMom Posts: 291Registered User Junior Member
    You are thinking of the title "Doctor" which is conferred to those attaining a PhD.

    "Professor" is a title granted by an academic institution to senior scholarly teachers.

    You could address your teacher "Instructor X" ...but it wouldn't hurt to ask his preference.
  • xrCalico23xrCalico23 Posts: 4,673Registered User Senior Member
    In my college where most of the teaching fellows/assistants are older graduate students, they simply go by their first names.
  • starbrightstarbright Posts: 4,660Registered User Senior Member
    Say professor to start, but just ask them their preference.
  • SkyhookSkyhook Posts: 1,095Registered User Member
    I think you should always address people as they wish to be addressed, and others should address you the way you wish to be addressed.

    If the instructor does not tell you how he wishes to be addressed, you should ask.
  • sylvan8798sylvan8798 Posts: 4,471Registered User Senior Member
    Agree with Skyhook, it's fine to ask how the instructor wants to be addressed. Before I was a PhD, I instructed students to address me as Mrs. Sylvan, or by my first name. I didn't care for it when students with whom I had a LOT of interaction never addressed me as anything. That would become awkward after awhile.
  • mhmmmhmm Posts: 1,184Registered User Senior Member
    ^^Probably then the impetus is on the instructor who is older and wiser to make sure the first day of class that the less experienced students know how to address him/her! Not every 18 year old freshman has the social skill to ask a person in power how to address them.
  • ordinarylivesordinarylives Posts: 2,193Registered User Senior Member
    Yes, ask, but can I ask why "Mr. X" doesn't seem right? My employer doesn't hire grad students to teach, so everybody is either Dr. X or Mr./Ms. X (or first name).
  • mathmommathmom Posts: 23,696Registered User Senior Member
    Really the easiest here, is to just ask "What would you like me to call you?" Alternatively, call them "Mr. X" if they don't have a doctorate or "Dr. X" if they do, and then let them tell you if there is something else they would prefer.
  • sacchisacchi Posts: 2,086Registered User Senior Member
    Don't use professor, it isn't appropriate for a graduate student instructor.

    Either use Mr. X, or first-name, or ask him what he prefers to be called. It's also pretty easy to avoid calling someone by any name at all, if you try. (Which is probably what you have been doing up until now...)
  • MomfromKCMomfromKC Posts: 352Registered User Member
    Sir and Ma'am work as well.

    Note to all teachers: Write your name as you wish to be addressed on the board the first day of class. Thank you!
  • sylvan8798sylvan8798 Posts: 4,471Registered User Senior Member
    mhmm wrote:
    ^^Probably then the impetus is on the instructor who is older and wiser to make sure the first day of class that the less experienced students know how to address him/her! Not every 18 year old freshman has the social skill to ask a person in power how to address them.
    I've always done that, mhmm, but I've had a couple of students who apparently had some problem with the whole "address" thing, and just never used anything.
  • sorghumsorghum Posts: 2,108Registered User Senior Member
    He plain and simple is not a Professor or a Dr., so Mr. is the most logical choice, until he tells you otherwise.
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