I teach for a company along with a large group of teachers, almost all of which are people who have graduated with the standard Bachelor level education in Education and Science/Mathematics. I am currently teaching senior high school and undergraduate mathematics whilst studying towards becoming a professional mathematician.
However, a very large number of my coworkers, especially the junior high school teachers, refer to themselves as 'mathematicians' to both other staff members and to students. These students go into senior high school and enter my classes, where I hope to get them interested in studying mathematics beyond the high school level. However, when talking to them about mathematics beyond high school, I often hear something along the lines of
"Being a mathematician seems a bit boring and easy. My Grade 9 teacher is a mathematician and it really doesn't seem like an interesting or difficult occupation. There's only so much you can learn about fractions and trigonometry.
This bothers me quite a bit, as I feel that it trivialises what mathematicians really do. It also turns students away from the field even before they get a chance to do it properly with me. Sometimes I have to resort to saying
"Teacher $X$ is not a mathematician, despite what he/she claims"
which does not feel like a very nice thing to say.
As you know, a professional mathematician actually works with mathematics for a living and at the very least have doctorates in mathematics. Many of these so-called 'mathematicians' are unable to teach senior high school, let alone award themselves such a label. You could not call a Biology teacher a 'Biologist'. You would not call an Economics teacher an "Economist". Similarly, you would not call a mathematics teacher a "Mathematician".
I know precisely which teachers are making these claims, but I am not sure how to approach them in a nice way about this. I am getting a bit tired of having to justify and explain my career choices to these misinformed students. Should I just bite the bullet and let it go?