How do you address a German teacher?

With our daughter starting school a few weeks ago, I have had an interesting thought: how do children address a teacher in Germany?

I don’t necessarily mean whether the children are on first-name terms with their teachers, because as far as I am aware they are not.  They are referred to as “Herr” or “Frau” with their surnames.

But, do they use the informal Du or the formal Sie form to talk to them?

Normal German protocol would require them to use Sie when talking to someone that they are not on first-name times with, and especially someone who is considerably older then they are.

I’m just not sure how many 6-year-olds have mastered the formal verb conjunctions.  Perhaps it just comes naturally to them?

Comments

  1. Most children use the “Du” together with teachers surname during the first weeks. I always found it funny and cute.

  2. Most children use the “Du” together with teachers surname during the first weeks. I always found it funny and cute.

  3. I can confirm ULK60’s statement – most 6-year-olds will use “Duzen” instead of “Siezen” with the teacher and most other adults.

    If I remember correctly – based on my own two children – Siezen begins around 3rd/4th grade.

  4. I can confirm ULK60’s statement – most 6-year-olds will use “Duzen” instead of “Siezen” with the teacher and most other adults.

    If I remember correctly – based on my own two children – Siezen begins around 3rd/4th grade.

  5. For me it was exactly around the same time, 3rd/4th grade, that I started to Siezen my teachers.
    Later in “Gymnasium” in 12th grade when everyone will turn 18 at one point, teachers started to say “Sie” as well to the students.
    Which I always found awkward, it’s a “Du” for years and years, and suddenly after one summer break it’s “Sie”…

  6. For me it was exactly around the same time, 3rd/4th grade, that I started to Siezen my teachers.
    Later in “Gymnasium” in 12th grade when everyone will turn 18 at one point, teachers started to say “Sie” as well to the students.
    Which I always found awkward, it’s a “Du” for years and years, and suddenly after one summer break it’s “Sie”…

  7. OK, thanks for the information everyone!

  8. OK, thanks for the information everyone!

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