TikTok Watch: High-schoolers are trolling teachers by using their first names

This new series reveals the latest TikTok trends, so you don’t have to. Let’s face it, if you signed up, it’d simply make you feel very old.

When I was in school, a long time ago, teachers were called ‘sir’ or ‘miss.’ Never, under any circumstances, were we permitted to address them by their initial names. it was a cardinal transgression, guaranteed to earn the offender a stern bollocking and nearly certainly an after-school detention.

Fast forward to 2019, and what was once an unpardonable sin is currently the latest TikTok trend. Across the U.S.A., high-school students are walking up to their teachers, addressing them as if they were equals, and filming the results for posterity (and, let’s face it, likes and follows). I’ve compiled a three-minute supercut of the best examples, which you can watch below.

The response from the teachers is somewhat mixed. It’s like there’s a spectrum of emotions. At one end, there’s pure confusion. At the opposite, there’s ferocious rage, which is compounded by the fact that the experience is being recorded.

And, of course, there are outliers. Some teachers, it seems, weirdly dig being called by their initial names. One must assume they’re lumbered with a truly unfortunate family name, like “Shufflebottom” or “Glasscock,” and enjoy the relief of being addressed by something that can’t be twisted into a cruel sexual jibe.
These videos are obviously entertaining, however they are also a great example of why I think TikTok is such an amazing app.

It permits individuals to experience different cultures and lifestyles through the lens of comedy. This is true whether or not you’re an enlisted soldier in Afghanistan, or a student goofing off during class.

When I showed the above video to TNW’s EU and India team, it sparked a discussion of how the U.S.A. education system differs from what they grew up with. Depending on where you grew up, U.S.A. schools appear way more informal. Students weren’t wearing uniforms, and teachers weren’t dressed in suits and ties, however rather jeans and t-shirts.

Managing editor, Abhimanyu Ghoshal, attended a top-tier private school in one of India’s major cities, where discipline was everything.
“Most of my teachers at college weren’t remotely happy to be working with children,” he told me.

If Ghoshal called his teachers by their given names, it’d have nearly certainly resulted in a beating.
“My fifth grade teacher made friends with the groundskeeper thus he could get a fresh supply of bamboo sticks every few days to whack us with,” he said. “If you didn’t do your homework, you’d have to line up with your fellow degenerates and walk up to him in front of the whole class, thus he could yank the hair from just above your ears and drop them into your diary (which your parents had to review and sign daily).”

Indian schools are very intense. Who knew?
Sadly, it’s unlikely this trend will catch on in India, although it’s one of the app’s biggest markets. The country is clamping down on the app over content concerns, and has forced Google and Apple to remove it from their respective Indian app stores.
Given the long and prolific history of corporal punishment in India’s schools, that’s probably for the best.