9 Ways for Students to Respond to Roll Calls in School

Roll call happens in most countries when taking students’ names for a register. It would help to know the best responses when roll call is happening. This article will explore some of the best ways for students to respond to roll calls in school.

Ways for Students to Respond to Roll Calls in School

The preferred versions are “here, miss/sir,” “yes, miss/sir,” and “present, miss/sir.” Generally, these three are the ones that are most expected. They are the most polite, and they’re the ones that most students are used to using to address their teachers.

Here, Miss/Sir

“Here, miss/sir” is a great one to use. It’s one of the most popular choices all over the world. You’ll find that native speakers from both the US and the UK use this variation, which makes it a very popular choice when it comes to answering roll calls.

“Here” is a modernized version of “present.” You will find that “here” feels much more natural to most students, which is why it’s the choice that works the best when it comes to answering a roll call or register.

  • Tom?
  • Here, sir.
  • Matt?
  • Here, ma’am.
  • Abbie?
  • Here, miss.

As you can see, typical roll calls only state the student’s name. The teacher will then wait for the student to respond with a simple “here,” followed by the appropriate title of the teacher (“sir” for men, “miss” or “ma’am” for women).

While “miss” and “ma’am” both work for female teachers, it’s much more common to hear “miss” used. Even if the teacher’s title is “Ms.” or “Mrs.,” most students would rather just use “miss,” and most teachers don’t mind.

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Yes, Miss/Sir

“Yes, miss/sir” is another great choice. “Yes” is slightly less formal than “here,” and it works well to show that you’re present and answering your name on the register. A lot of people like using “yes” because it’s a universal word that’s easy to understand.

Generally, “yes” will be more common in UK English. You’ll often hear it used by UK students to show that they are present. “Yes” acknowledges their name on the register, which is another way of letting a teacher know that they’re present and accounted for.

  • Mark?
  • Yes, miss.
  • Steve?
  • Yes, sir.
  • Freya?
  • Yes, ma’am.

The response is always the same when it comes to roll calls. You include the title to make sure that you’re staying formal and polite when addressing your teacher.

Present, Miss/Sir

“Present, miss/sir” is a more old-fashioned answer to the register. It’s still quite common in India and a few regions in America, but for the most part, “here” and “yes” have replaced it in the modern world of answering roll call.

It’s up to you to determine whether you prefer “here,” “yes,” or “present.” Most of the time, you can find out what is the preferred version by listening to the other students in the class. All of them will typically use the same word.

  • Darren?
  • Present, miss.
  • Katie?
  • Present, sir.
  • Amy?
  • Present, ma’am.

Most people think that “present” is a bit of an archaic word, so you might not find that it’s the most popular choice. Nevertheless, it’s still acceptable. You are free to use it if you like it.

Raise A Hand

Raising a hand is a good way of answering a register or roll call without needing to use words. Some teachers like this silent approach. It is still formal and polite, but you won’t have to worry about saying anything or missing the title that comes with the phrase.

This is a common choice for many countries. You’ll find that many schools in the US and the UK allow their students to raise their hands rather than saying anything like “here” and “yes.”

Raising your hand catches your teacher’s attention. It shows them that you are physically present without having to use any words. They can just look up from roll call to make sure they can see your hand in the air.

It also works really well for new teachers. In a new teacher’s first roll call, they often won’t be able to put faces and names together. Saying “yes” or “present” works, but it means they’ll have to pay attention to the direction of sound or whose mouth moved.

When your hand is raised, it is much easier for a new teacher to tell who you are. They will be able to notice you more, and they’ll have a better understanding of what you look like if they need to talk to you again later down the line.


Another good physical action for a roll call is waving. It’s similar to raising your hand, but it doesn’t always depend on your arm being outstretched overhead. The wave draws attention straight to you without the teacher having to scan the room.

Again, we think this one works best when you’re meeting a new teacher. When they are first getting to know you and your fellow students, you’ll want to do them a favor and make sure they can see where you are.

It’s especially effective in a tight classroom. If it would be difficult for a new teacher to see every face and mouth when taking the roll call, a simple wave will go a long way to help separate you from the crowd of other students that are packed into the classroom.


“Miss” and “sir” work well as a response without needing any other affirmations. “Yes,” “here,” and “present” are great additions, but they are not required. Many teachers prefer the simple title announcement to show that you are a group of polite and formal students.

You will most likely hear this one used in certain regions of the US. There are no specific reasons why some areas use it, and others don’t. It’s mainly based on respect and whether the teachers of certain schools prefer respect to be given in different ways.

“Miss” and “sir” are good on their own. After all, in a roll call, the only thing that is necessary is a response. You don’t often have to say anything else. As long as your teacher can hear you, you’re good to go.

Removing the titles and only saying “here” or “yes” might not be wise. This can be seen as rude or lazy by some teachers. It’s viewed as quite negative by teachers who really appreciate respect and formality from their students.

However, removing “here” and “yes” but keeping the title of “sir” or “miss” (or “ma’am”) is a great way to remain polite and formal without having to worry about extra words.

Keeping your response short and sweet will help your teachers to get through roll call without much of an issue.

  • Harry?
  • Miss.
  • Peter?
  • Sir.
  • Lewis?
  • Ma’am.

Make sure you’re paying attention to what the other students do before deciding whether this one will work, though. Some teachers do appreciate an extra word or two during roll call.


“Yeah” is a decent option, but it should only ever work informally. You won’t often get away with a response like this if you go to a school that relies a lot on common courtesy and formal etiquette.

Removing the title of the teacher from your roll call answer is not always a good move. It can be seen as rude or dismissive, which is why so many of the other options have included a “miss” or “sir.”

In more informal situations, there’s nothing wrong with “yeah” as an answer. You might find that you’re going to a camp or a weekend activity. The roll calls and registers at places like this don’t often require titles. “Yeah” will work fine here.

  • Dean?
  • Yeah.
  • Sarah?
  • Yeah.
  • May?
  • Yeah.

While it’s not the most formal response, it has its uses. That’s why we thought it was worth mentioning on this list.


“Yup” is another informal choice that definitely won’t work for formal schools and registers. You should only use it when you are on good terms with the person taking the roll call, and you know that they don’t mind a little bit of informal language.

Again, it’s best to avoid this one in schools and colleges. The best places to use a response like “yup” would be for the register of an extracurricular activity that happens on the weekend or somewhere that doesn’t rely on any formality.

  • Marcus?
  • Yup.
  • George?
  • Yup.
  • Suzanne?
  • Yup.


“Here” is the last informal choice you can use. Technically, it’s more formal than the two that came before it because it allows you to use “here” (which is a common roll call response). However, it still removes the title from the phrase.

“Here” can work in some formal settings. Most of the time, it depends on whether your teacher appreciates the title in your answer or not.

Some teachers will hesitate before moving to the next name if you don’t call them “sir” or “miss.” You might also find that they’ll continuously stare at you until you finally address them by their formal title. If this is the case, you’ll want to make sure to include the title from then on.

  • Michael?
  • Here.
  • Terrance?
  • Here.
  • Sally?
  • Here.

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