This is perhaps one of the most interesting comments I have ever received on this blog. I found it so amusing and challenging that I’m sharing it and the e-mail response I personally sent the guy.
Wandered into your blog, while looking for Pisay stuff. I am a graduate of Pisay, Batch 86. While I do appreciate that you are teaching at Pisay, I think there is something “dodgy” (an Australian word that fits what I’m trying to say, I guess) about a teacher naming himself (on his own blog) Sir anything.We called our teachers then Mrs. Ladera, or Mr. Guevara in class, and outside class, the younger ones were Robbie, or Mac. I find it a little disconcerting that a Social Studies teacher can claim or impose on others, a personal higher status that “sir” implies. Witness the mostly submissive and agreement-seeking comments of your students.
Pisay has and always been about independence of thought, of not being a suckup to authority figures. If the medium is the message, it’s a little hard to disagree (and express that disagreement) with Sir Teacher, no?
So, some unsolicited advice and then an apology. Drop the Sir thing from your blog (it is, after all, seen worldwide, and you confuse the Brits). The students can call you what they wish, but you shouldn’t call yourself Sir anything. Sorry, I was there in the mid 80s, when we were boycotting classes and marching in the streets, and we didn’t flatter our teachers with “cool, knighted sir Mac”.
– a Pisay ’86 grad who argued with Mrs. Ladera for a whole year and survived
And here is my response:
Hi! I really appreciate the comment and I see where you’re coming from. However, times have changed I guess.
I never imposed “Sir” on my students. That is what they call me, and while I did find it awkward at first, it grew on me. Like a nickname. I’d love it if they would just call me Martin, but it always comes out as Sir. And not once did they call me Mr. Perez either. Similarly, female teachers are no longer called Ms. or Mrs. Mostly Ma’am (at least here in Pisay). And these days, neither Sir nor Ma’am carries with it an air of imposition or submission. It’s really how they call us teachers these days. Even in the most casual and informal conversations, it’s like we don’t have a name. All of us are either Sir or Ma’am.
I understand that it confuses Britons. But like language, words take on new meaning once they are adopted and used by other cultures (rightfully or otherwise). Britons have definitely asked me about this, and I gave them this same explanation time and time again.
This blog you have seen is my work blog. It is a teacher’s blog. This is where I keep in touch with my students and I even supplement my course through here. It is only natural that I call myself Sir Martin because that is how my intended audience knows me. (Thus I am not surprised when my unintended audience — like you — finds it surprising.) And I can guarantee that even if I drop all references of “Sir”, they would still refer to me as that in their comments.
Anyway, thanks for the comment. But, you are right. This is unsolicited advice, and I accept your apology. I hope this makes things clear for you.
It’s really interesting how words matter. And like all things, their meanings change throughout the years. I am sorry if Francis de los Reyes found it “dodgy” but I have nothing to apologize for. And neither does he actually.
I am sure that one day, words will shift once more and students will call their teachers by Mr. or Ms., and it may even come to a point that they call them by their first names. That would be interesting to see.
And Francis, if in their comments you see submission and agreement-seeking, I suggest you read my post on Atheism. I don’t have more examples of them disagreeing with me on my blog, but you should see us in the classroom where it really is back and forth. Even the most heated arguments in class begin and end with Sir.
Also, you’ve read their comments on my Confession posts where I trace my path towards becoming their teacher. There is nothing but endearment in their responses, since that is how we are in real life.
You come from a time when you boycott classes and rally in the streets. Now we are at a time when we’re getting kids excited to stay in the classroom once again. (And this blog is an extension of that classroom.) Students are free to call me whatever they want, and clearly they have settled for Sir.
No way should everyone else (and they don’t). But this blog is dedicated to my students.