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Thread: how do you let your students address you?

  1. #1
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    Default how do you let your students address you?

    what do you ask of them? Should they call you sensei, by your first name, last name etc. etc.

    And of course why do you ask them to call you that?

    All my students call me by my first name, except for the youngest ones most of which automatically use the Dutch standard word for a male teacher.

    I prefer letting them call me by my first name as:
    1. it is my name
    2. I'm not Japanese so why use a Japanese word?
    3. I'd like to think I don't need a special name as my actions speak for themselves..
    Rogier van der Peijl

    REAL SCOTSMEN WEAR KILTS because sheep can hear a zipper at 500 yards!

    Originally posted by Cady Goldfield
    Ah, what a cutie, Rogier. I'll bet a lot of ladies in Netherlands are mourning because you are out of circulation now!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: how do you let your students address you?

    Originally posted by Rogier
    what do you ask of them? Should they call you sensei, by your first name, last name etc. etc.

    And of course why do you ask them to call you that?

    All my students call me by my first name, except for the youngest ones most of which automatically use the Dutch standard word for a male teacher.

    I prefer letting them call me by my first name as:
    1. it is my name
    2. I'm not Japanese so why use a Japanese word?
    3. I'd like to think I don't need a special name as my actions speak for themselves..
    Hello Rogier,

    I have never made special requests to my Dutch students as to what they should call me, but they usually use my first name. Some more traditional students call me "Sensei", but only when training.

    I recently found "The Undutchables" at a bookstore in Amsterdam and it was very entertaining reading on the flight back to Japan (it was a KLM flight, so I needed something to read).

    It was a very interesting book and showed that there is a Dutch counterpart to Nihonjinron (which I experience whenever there is a meeting in Holland). Perhaps calling me Peter allows my aikido students to exhibit their dutchness, in the general context of learning a Japanese martial art.

    Best,
    Peter Goldsbury,
    Forum Administrator,
    Hiroshima, Japan

  3. #3
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    Rogier,

    I get called a lot of things... But in the club I go by Aaron. For all the same reasons you listed.

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    This is a good question and what I've often wondered myself.

    I call my instructor by his last name. On occassion, though, I've called him by his first. He seems not to care. The only thing he really gets on us about, espeically on the mat, is that we say, "Sir" when he address us.
    Jonathan Wood

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    On the mat we call the teacher by "sensei" or "teacher" (in Hebrew), off them mat we either use his first name or one of the above "names".

    The reason for that is to show our respect to him. I suspect this is doubly important in making a distinction from the common Israeli atmosphere which is very friendly and totally non-hierarchical.

    Amir
    Amir Krause

  6. #6
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    Kids (16 & under) can call me either Sensei or Mr. Barlow. Adults either refer to me as Mark or Sensei. To be honest, I don't ever recall telling anyone to call me anything. Students follow the example of other students.

    Mark Barlow

  7. #7
    ShoBushido Guest

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    Because I have seen lack of respect paid to good teachers go to bad extremes, we maintain a modicum of it in our dojo. We have formal, albeit short openings and closings to class. We refer to essential locks and commands by their Japanese names. And both myself and my shodan are "sensei" in class. Outside of class we go by our first names with the adults. It is the same respect I pay my teachers, accept I refer to them as sensei outside of class as well.

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    A couple of times when I (as a brown belt) have been leading a class, I have had students call me 'sensei'. It feels really, really weird. I don't like it at all.
    Cheers,

    Mike
    No-Kan-Do

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    Originally posted by MikeWilliams
    A couple of times when I (as a brown belt) have been leading a class, I have had students call me 'sensei'. It feels really, really weird. I don't like it at all.
    I feel weird when people call me, "Sir".
    Jonathan Wood

  10. #10
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    I usually let people call me by my name or "sensei", whatever they are most comfotable with, "sensei" is a meaningless title unless someone understands what it really means. I hate "Sensei" off the mat, i do however allow one person to call me that and it is because he is Japanese and 3rd Dan - so I guess he is entitled to. he even does it in Christmas cards!
    Simon

    www.kanojiujitsu.co.uk



    Dog barks at the moon
    so much noise without meaning
    why do I listen?

  11. #11
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    How many of you will allow students, on the mat, to call you by your first name?
    Jonathan Wood

  12. #12
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    Default a rose by any other name...

    Our adults can me anything they'd be willing to repeat to their mother! Seriously, They eith call me Sensei, Robert, or Cheshire Sensei. They are allowed to call me whatever they are most comfortable with. Most of our students call me and my teacher Sensei because of the meaning behind it. Off the mat, again, they are to call us what they feel comfortable with and change them depending on the situation. I have found that if they are talking to us about budo/class related things they often call of sensei and when it's a social setting or comment it's by our name.

    Our kids are to call us either sensei or Mr. (first name). This is to teach them respect to their elders. We also encourage to show respect to their family members and teachers, etc.
    Robert Cheshire
    Yoseikan Teacher
    www.yoseikanbudo.us
    www.fagri-igraf.org/

  13. #13
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    on the one side I tend to agree with letting kids call you sensei or Mr. or teacher (or something in that direction).

    On the other end I've always believed that respect is not something that is shown by how someone calls you, but rather how they act and react to you.

    Sensei can be said with the person having absolutely no respect for you. They can call me Rogier and have still show lots of respect. Another thing with requiring someone to call you sensei or master (etc. etc.) is that respect is something that you need to earn, not something that you get by default as it comes with a name.
    Rogier van der Peijl

    REAL SCOTSMEN WEAR KILTS because sheep can hear a zipper at 500 yards!

    Originally posted by Cady Goldfield
    Ah, what a cutie, Rogier. I'll bet a lot of ladies in Netherlands are mourning because you are out of circulation now!

  14. #14
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    Since I moved into the world of Yudansha I have felt more comfortable calling my teachers by first name off the mat and occasionally on the mat.

    My teachers have never pushed or enforced this one way or the other. They, as many of us have posted, feel that respect is earned and not demanded. My being able to call them by first name is respect in the sense that I've become comfortable enough to interact with them as a person and not an unapproachable being.
    Robert Cheshire
    Yoseikan Teacher
    www.yoseikanbudo.us
    www.fagri-igraf.org/

  15. #15
    HinodeBuddha Guest

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    Whether it is on the mat or off, I refer to my sensei as "Sensei" or "Christenham Sensei", no exceptions. For the first three years of our relationship I didn't even know his first name. This isn't to say that we do not have a very social club, as after almost every class we go out and get a bite to eat and enjoy a drink or two. But in all of this socializing not one of his students call him anything but Sensei or Christenham Sensei. (Though he has never requested or demanded.)

    I have been teaching for a little while now myself and I have never requested that anyone call me sensei. (That would be inappropriate.)They do call me sensei though. I would assume from example, and by the standards of the organization, it is the appropriate way to address the teacher.

    I will have to say that I do not care for sir or ma'am. I will also say that in a children's class setting I do not think it is appropriate for the children to become familiar with their sensei enough to call him/her by their first name. I think they require a more structured envioronment. I am sure there are places where this works well but I have seen first hand a childrens' class gone awry due to this. (Obviously not this alone as there are many factors, but when we let one thing slide it opens the door to others.)

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