Professors and Students

When I was learning English back in school (in the nineties), there were pupils and teachers. Now there seem to be students and professors, where a “professor” can be anyone who happens to teach people in a school environment.

Maybe this strikes me as odd because of the fact that both “Student” and “Professor” are used in German, too. However, “Student” refers to someone at studying at a university, and “Professor” strictly is reserved for someone who has earned a habilitation or has been appointed to a professorship (possibly honoris causa).

  • Has that strict use ever been the prevalent case with English?
  • Is it the difference between AE and BE usage?
  • Or is it just to euphemism-creep?


In the most general sense, here’s the breakdown:

  • primary/elementary school: pupils/students and teachers
  • secondary/middle/high school: students and teachers
  • university/college: students and lecturers/instructors/professors

A high school teacher is certainly not a professor. Sometimes, college/university professors are referred to as teachers in a very general sense. In the US, pupil is not often used. This is more common in Commonwealth countries.

Source : Link , Question Author : Tomalak , Answer Author : Jimi Oke

Leave a Comment