Don't call the teacher Ma'am



That is one of the stupidest news stories ever. We don’t have a problem with there being too much courtesy in the world.


This kind of feels like half a story to me.


A few years ago, I would have agreed with you. But the world has gone insane.


Yes, it does feel like half a story. Was he parroting “ma’am” endlessly just to annoy the teacher? Was he saying it in a sassy, disrespectful tone of voice? Is a miscommunication with something like the teacher being a recent transplant to NC who wasn’t familiar with the more Southern uses of ma’am and felt like the boy was calling her old?

There is nothing wrong with respect or terms of respect for teachers, but it is possible for those terms to be misused, and without knowing the teacher’s side of things it’s hard to know what exactly happened. Also… why on earth would the parent go to the news first before trying to resolve this with the teacher and the principal? That’s a way to drive teachers out of the profession. Even good teachers make mistakes sometimes – that doesn’t mean their mistakes need to be on the national news.


Sigh, is about all I can muster.


I have no idea why this woman doesn’t want to be addressed as “ma’am”, but I would argue that when someone’s asks you not to call them something, no matter how petty it seems to you, the actual courteous thing to do is to stop calling them that.


I had a really similar thing happen to me in my first year of teaching. A kid was being a smart alack and kept interrupting every other sentence I said with “Yes, ma’am”, even though I was giving instructions for an assignment to the whole class and not asking any questions. I warned him twice to stop and he kept doing it, so I wrote him up for interrupting the class. I told the principal what happened right after the class because I knew the brat was going to go home and tell his parents that he got in trouble for saying “yes, ma’am.” Sure enough, the parents were screaming at the principal before the school day was even over. (The kid texted them on the phone he wasn’t supposed to have in school.) He backed me up though and told them that real respect is when an adult tells a student to stop saying something, they stop saying it.


It sounds like that teacher is a yankee.


Yes, that was my thought. There are a lot of ways to say “ma’am” that are in fact disrespectful, and I am pretty sure a determined kid could find one - and would try to get out of trouble by spinning a tale for his parents.


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