Public Address System

I was raised in Clinton, South Carolina, where a “yes” or a “no” was always followed by a “sir” or a  “m’am.” In 1965 when I first began teaching middle school in Pensacola, Florida, I was accustomed to that social etiquette and expected it from my students. I had always responded with that courtesy to my teachers. My parents also required the “sir” or “m’am” as a matter of respect. However, this was no longer South Carolina; it was the Florida panhandle, and the students did not practice this manner of address. After insisting for a while that they present me with the “sir” and “m’am,” I realized that they were not trying to be disrespectful. It just was not a custom there. To remedy my fractured honor, I began to use “sir” and “m’am” when speaking to the students, and the modeling began to work. Another time that I became concerned about the use of language and propriety occurred when one of the kids in my neighborhood started calling me by my first name, Thom. When I told my mother-in-law about this situation, she was amazed. “I don’t understand,” she said. “They don’t call me Thom; they call me Mrs. Simpson.” Case closed.


About bobosbest

I am an 80-year-old retired English teacher whose writing goals are fulfilled by publishing these blogs. I have a wonderful married partner, Dimitris Tsitsiras, who is from Greece. Life is good and still an adventure.
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2 Responses to Public Address System

  1. Bill Martin says:

    Yes, we old teachers got to see, for some 30 to 40 years, the slow migration of etiqutte, civility, and cultural attitude from respectufully polite to apathetic to pathetic. Teachers today have quite the challenge!

  2. Issa says:

    Kids these days are so disrepctful. We taught our kids to call the elders Mr or Mrs. I have friends that bring their kids around and say ” Say Hi To Issa. That infuriates me. Wes has some students on some of his classes that call him Wes. I think it is because he is very young looking and could pass for a student himself and he is so easy going, just like his dad that he doesn’t mind.

    Rib eye steaks tomorrow to celebrate the 4th! Have fresh corn, baked potatoes, deviled eggs and of course water melon. Come join us!!!!!!

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