This is the course blog for ICS24/ELIT24, Asian American Literature, at De Anza College
I think that there should be no right or wrong in addressing a person as long as you address them with respect and according to their titles. People from different cultures and countries also have very different ways of addressing people. For example, In Indonesia, we call teachers like "mom" and "dad", while in Singapore, we call them "Mr (last name) or Ms (last name)". I feel that learning their preferred address is very important, as conflict can arise just because of addressing the person wrongly. Furthermore, addressing a person in a way that she prefers is a form of respect towards him or her.
Like Karina said, there's nothing wrong with how you address a person as long as it is with respect. Perhaps it might had been the tone you used. Then again, I don't think that would've been the case, but your teacher might've perceived your tone as offensive. To put it simply, you really did nothing wrong by addressing her as "Ma'am". That's actually a polite term to use with women that are older than you.
I don't think there was anything wrong with the way you addressed your teacher. It could have been your tone of voice that offended the teacher. "Ma'am" is usually a respectful way to address someone.
Like what the others said, i would believe that what you did was nothing wrong. But i guess the teachers also have the right to be called the appropriate title. If i got my doctorate degree i would like to be recognized as Dr.
There’s nothing wrong with calling a woman ma’am. It’s the most respectful and proper way to address someone you don’t know. Maybe next time you should just say “hey lady” and see what she thinks of that. I’m joking of course, please don’t yell “hey lady” to your teacher.
Everyone has different tastes and you never really know how one might react, so it is probably best to go with the general title if they have one, and then as polite as possible. Teacher would be Miss or Mister, Professor would just be professor in front of their last name.
I think it depends on people's preference on how they are called upon. Maybe she was raised by being called by her first name and only sees it the most comfortable other then being called "ma'am" is too formal. However she might have been with ease with you and would rather be called by her first name instead because your her student. - Jeofrey Reyes
Ma'am is definitely a very respectful term and is used in the south almost as a rule.. It's astonishing that she was offended by you addressing her in a respectful way. In california, Ma'am is used in professional environments. I call clients at work Ma'am all the time.
Personally, as a woman who is older than most of you, I don't get offensive by calling Ma'am. However, it does remind me of "a older ladies".
I think it is odd that she was offended by you calling her ma'am. Because it is very common for people to address females they dont know as ma'am, and it is a very respectful way.