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An unusual name

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by longtimelistener, Mar 3, 2016.

  1. longtimelistener

    longtimelistener New commenter

    Hi there, I have an unusual problem, due to my unusual name. I am obviously not going to post my real name, but it is a Welsh name, and I have just moved to a new job in a new city, where my name is apparently slang. The kids use it when they are mocking another student, along the lines of "oh you're such a _____" ... "Give me back my bag you _____"
    Another teacher told me that there used to be a girl in the school with the same name who came from a very poor background, she was unhygienic and mentally unstable, and she was badly bullied, and the students began using it to mock other students. I didn't know this and so identified myself to my students using my real name. Now I am in a situation where I can hear the children mocking each other on the corridors using my name and then looking to me for a reaction. So far I have been able pretend I didn't hear it, but the students are saying it louder and louder when I am around..
    Anyone have any advice? Please keep in mind that I have been working at the school for a month, and my contract ends in July. I would like to reapply for next year, and so I want to keep the principal on my side. The students are also the type that won't simply take "please don't say that anymore" as an answer.
  2. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Then you'll just have to affect not to take any notice until they tire of it. Which they will. Rise above, rise above.
  3. schoolsout4summer

    schoolsout4summer Star commenter

    I know a person whose name has unfortunately now become a derogatory slang word commonly used amongst the younger generation.
    When they moved job they changed their name.
    Problem was solved.
    ScotSEN likes this.
  4. longtimelistener

    longtimelistener New commenter

    I would have changed my name before I introduced myself but I didn't know, and now I really want to stay in this school as jobs are scarce in my subject, and especially in this city, my partners job is also here so I'm stuck at least until July, but I'd like to stay longer as my partner has a 5 year contract here.
  5. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Wise advice from grumpydogwoman there.
    You will just have to learn to 'feign' disinterest and a 'can't you think of anything more original?' look on your face- just don't give them the satisfaction.
  6. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Honestly. It'll
    a/ just die a death
    b/ cease to bother you

    Personally I'd start using it myself. "Oh, look at me. What a dumb Thompson/Smith/McPherson I am. How could I have forgotten that?"

    When they know that you KNOW and that you can take the mick out of YOURSELF they won't find much fun in it. If even the teacher talks like this? Then it loses its power.

    I used to do that a lot in sex ed. Take the word they'd giggle at and repeat it a zillion times.
  7. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    Ignore it out of the classroom. Insist on no derogatory talk in the classroom, regardless of names or words or whatever.

    Language is very flexible. The longer you stay the more the name will be associated with Miss Tinkleberry and not with duh, what a Tinkleberry you are! and the latter will fall out of use.

    Unless you do something really silly, like fall off the stage in assembly or wander around for a whole day trailing loo paper behind you.
    sparkleghirl likes this.
  8. RedQuilt

    RedQuilt Star commenter

    Drawing attention to the fact that this term they're using is your name will only intensify their use of it.
    longtimelistener and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  9. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    I disagree. It makes it distinctly uncool. And eventually you make the point that (since you're not a 'weirdo') it was a silly thing to say in the first place.
  10. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    I can see gdw's logic in reclaiming the insult from them, though that tends to work best with the older pupils. I knew what their nickname for me was, and occasionally I'd make on oblique reference to it to take the sting out. Eventually there was no point in them trying to needle me with it.

    Most of the younger ones can be shut up with a slightly resigned "Haven't we got better things to be spending our time on?" sort of look. If any smartarses insist on dragging the whole thing out forever just take them on one side without an audience. Have a long calm drawn out time-wasting discussion with them about it so they miss their break time. They'll soon get the message.
  11. Mrskeletor

    Mrskeletor New commenter

    Totally disagree with GDW. If you start using it yourself, it will get worse! I had a french teacher who slipped up and said a different word for 'pee' and we jumped all over it. He didn't have a chance. I'm almost certain he left after about 5 weeks.

    Easier said than done, but just ignore it. Anyone who takes it to the next level, take to the head of year.
  12. Izzy121

    Izzy121 New commenter

    I think if you start using it yourself, you run the risk of appearing as though you are trying to be cool and use the kids' vernacular, which would be an error...

    Personally I'd aim for an utterly unruffled exterior, if they say it directly to you, fix them with a blank stare that speaks of your disdain, then continue with your day. Send the message that their ridiculous behaviour isn't even worthy of addressing. Boredom will soon kick in. *But* do use the proper channels for behaviour management if you get defiant, offensive behaviour, you shouldn't just tolerate it if it persists.

    It could be worse though - I once spent a term being called 'camel toe' after wearing an ill advised pair of trousers to teach a particularly unpleasant year 8 class. You live & learn lol
    Noja and Mrskeletor like this.
  13. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    It's obviously a (very) challenging school.

    I wouldn't bother with disdain. The kids may not understand it and, worse still, they will certainly interpret it as a sign that they have rattled you.

    You don't want to be asking for support from SMT any time soon. Makes you look weak. If you're going to stay there you have to forge your own path and make relationships. You involve other staff? The kids have won again. You couldn't cope.

    (This is how they see it in difficult schools where it's dog eats dog.)
  14. MacGuyver

    MacGuyver Occasional commenter

    I had a similar issue with my name being used to mock me. It was being repeated in earshot in a ridiculously bad imitation of my accent.

    The three students stupid enough to do it to my face were take over the coals by their head of year. I managed to have random conversations with some of the other ringleaders about inconsequential stuff, offered them help in my subject but never mentioned I knew it was them. I flat out ignored every other incident. 4 months later and it is not an issue, I made a joke about it with the ringleaders and they had the good grace to look abashed.

    My advice is I absolutely ignore it.
    Lara mfl 05 and grumpydogwoman like this.
  15. longtimelistener

    longtimelistener New commenter

    Hi, thanks so much for all your replies! I really appreciate them!
    @grumpydogwoman I guess I'm just going to have to ignore them, and hope it just dies out! Won't be involving SMT unless it gets very bad. @MacGuyver hopefully the same thing happens in this case.
    I'll update if anything happens. Thank you all again.
  16. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    If you are female, you could always pretend you got married and change it!
  17. Izzy121

    Izzy121 New commenter

    Different things work for different people. Having taught in a very challenging North London comp for a long time, I can say 'disdain' most certainly does work. However, the kids do need to know you & understand your looks...
  18. rosievoice

    rosievoice Star commenter

    Do not refer to it, do not even "notice" it. The little cherubs are doing it for a response.

    I once taught a little cherub who, at the start of one afternoon session, quietly but tunelessly began singing "I can do something that will get on your nerves, get on your nerves, get on your nerves" and repeat. Little cherub sat right by my desk so l couldn't fail to hear it. Give him his due, LC kept it up for 45 minutes - you have to admire the determination! At the end of the session, l enquired "What is it, then?" LC looked puzzled. "You said you could do etc, etc, so I'm curious to find out what it will be." It was one of my finest hours, but my brain itched all afternoon. Cherubs.
  19. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Ooh there ought to be a special badge for you for that.
    What about this one?
    WyvernLetDie, Noja and ScotSEN like this.
  20. tall tales

    tall tales New commenter

    Rosievoice - best reply ever. Laughed my socks off!
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.

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