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Being Called by my name to my face

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by thattallteacher, May 10, 2012.

  1. thattallteacher

    thattallteacher New commenter

    I am relativly new to a school and the kids found out my first name
    They have tried calling me it in lesson once and I shot them down.
    However, I now do duty and the kids like to shout out my name at me, sometimes even to my face. As someone who is over 6 foot I stand out.
    What is the correct response to dealing with the miscreants?
  2. joedoggyuk

    joedoggyuk New commenter

    Kids are like people: they thrive on challenges, puzzles and mysteries. The more we forbid them from knowing our first name, the more they want to know it. They're interested in us; understandably so-- we spend hours on end cooped up together in a room with them. Naturally they'll want to know our name, where we live and who we love.
    When they call you by your first name I wouldn't shoot them down. A simple response works: "that's my name. My name is Dave. I do not want you to call me by that name, through. I want to be called Miss Headey, or just Miss. If you call me by my first name again I will punish you by taking five minutes of your lunch."
    Sometimes it's right to shout and get angry with children. Sometimes it's right to show that you care about what a kid has done. I don't feel this is one such occasion.
    If they do call you Dave again, they loose five minutes. Don't act like you care, through. Blasé. Blasé. Blasé.
  3. Not much help, but I absolutely hate the way new teachers, even student teachers, are made to do duty. It is so unbelievably obvious that that's not likely to be a suitable task to give them. Why is it not well known in SLT circles that that is not a wise move?
    My only advice is to try to learn names as quick as possible, so you can deal with them, or report them up. Also do <u>not</u> let them see they have personally annoyed you, as the other poster says.
  4. re

    re New commenter

    If they are shouting your name across the playground you need to do someting about it. I had a similar occurence and came down hard. Anyone shouting my name out got put into after school detention. If it was one of a group, any identifiable member of that group got the same. I had phone calls from parents, to which I replied that this was a form of bullying/intimidation and I stuck to my guns. Name calling soon stopped. Enlist the help of pastoral managers & explain what's going on. You cannot let them intimidate you, making you afraid to go into the playground/ walk the corridors etc.
  5. thattallteacher

    thattallteacher New commenter

    Cheers guys
  6. kittylion

    kittylion Senior commenter

  7. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    Ha :) Thought I was on Twitter for a second
    Just to emphasise what's been said before. Students should use a teacher's formal title whenever they interact; and we need to overcome any squeamishness that some people still have about this, as if it were somehow the thin end of an totalitarian wedge. It's a perfectly suitable cue that there is a formal relationship between teacher and student. And in a society where the lines between child and adult are blurred enough, it's important.
    Do NOT freak out at kids doing this, or you fuel the fire that inspires their antics. They already know that they;re not supposed to use your given name (how did they find it out I wonder? Check your social networks aren't open like a pair of flies). Simply give them one warning and remind them that your name is Mr X (I am guessing you aren't the leader of a band of mutants) and they need to use it. If they persist, give them some quality detention time, and stick to it. Better to be seen as a hard ass when you start, than Oi Dave. And you'll show them you mean business about everything else.
    If you don't sort this, it can become corrosive for your rep in school. Just be cool as Fonzie about it, or you'll tempt them to repeat. And if you need help with names, get another teacher involved. A phone call home for an informal chat would work wonders, too. Most parents would appreciate that their kids shouldn't cheek the teachers like this.
    Good luck
    Read more from Tom here on his blog, or
    follow him.

  8. briceanus

    briceanus New commenter

    My name is Dave. I do not want you to call me by that name, through. I want to be called Miss Headey, or just Miss.

    I'd think the more difficult problem here is having a Miss Headey with a first name of Dave. Surely he/she will be mocked if that ever came out.

  9. Hi,
    Most of the kids where I work know my first name. It doesn't bother me to be honest; but if they call my name out, I explain that they need to call me Miss or Miss Basini. I don't respond if they continue. Eventually they get fed up of being ignored.
    Hope this helps. Good Luck.
    PS - Miss B is also acceptable in the classroom for some students - but the kids sometimes struggle to pronounce my Italian surname!
  10. I teach in Catalunya. All children call their teachers by their first name. It's really not a problem.
  11. I can't see any difficulty either. We seem to be a lot less formal in society than when I started teaching in 1970.
  12. Respect is NOT in a name - it is in how you relate to people ............... note I do not use the term 'kids' ..... time to move from the C19th to the C21st methinks!
  13. I don't think there would be anything wrong with teachers being called by their first name (or as I've been told in Primaries in Chile they call teachers Auntie X) except for the fact that it isn't done here at the moment. This then means that when children purposefully do so they are doing it to A prove they know it or B to be disrespectful/undermine you.
    As to how they know the first names they are often in school handbooks/ prospectuses/ websites as well as the pupil-neighbour who might know your first name.
    I was quite impressed with two children recently whose class I took for supply day and who knew me by my first name outside school -never even slipped up into calling me anything other than Mrs Imsdal!
  14. Our names get put on the kids timetables...

    In the boxes they get the subject, room and staff code and underneath is the key that shows staff code, e.g. *** - Mr Bob Smith

    Though for many it takes at least a term to realise what your name is....
  15. That's not very helpful to the OP. I personally do think that not calling your teacher by their first name shows a mark of respect and I expect to be called by my surname by the kids. A punishment if they don't.

    Also, they are kids (I work in a primary) and have no problem calling them so, depending on how they behave. Different strokes for different folks, nothing to do with moving into the 21st century.O
  16. Ive found that threatening to call them by their surname each time they use my first name has worked a treat.They understand that its a line they shouldnt cross.Thats why they want to cross it and try you out. They also dont want to be called by their surname. No child does.
    Keep it light hearted. Although if they take the mickey and it becomes a bullying/intimidation issue then of course youd need to start using detentions.
  17. I teach in Madrid and while it is normal here for kids to call their teachers "Don/Doña" and then their first name, most of them catch on to the fact that with English teachers you would say "Mr./Mrs." and then their second name although some of them get confused and call me 'Mr. Frank' which I don't mind, at least they're *trying* to show respect. At the school where I worked in Barcelona though it was normal for kids to call teachers "Señor/Señora" and then the second name, to the point where some kids would try and a) find out your first name and b) call you by it, as you've described. Personally if they ever call me 'Frank' across the playground/corridor I just completely ignore them until they say "Mr. Pells". Simple positive reinforcement/pavlovian conditioning - works a treat!
  18. Hey,
    Do not let the students see that they have gotten to you. But what is the problem with them knowing your first name?
    This entire job works at its best when we have excellent relationships with students. Having a quiet word with them and explaining that it is inappropriate to call you by your first name rather than shouting at them would be my suggestion.
  19. I work in a mainstream secondary where pupils refer to us by our first names. When I first arrived I dismissed this as new age rubbish - but in working at the school I have seen nothing but positives in this. The relationships between students and teachers (in fact, all staff) are fantastic. I have never experienced anything but polite, positive and appropriate conversations with my current students. Conversely, I have been called 'mr .... And Sir' with unbelievably sarcastic overtones in other schools.

    My advice about being called by your first name - Politely remind them of the policy. But don't consider it a crisis. They could call you a lot worse.
  20. HotPinkCrayola

    HotPinkCrayola New commenter

    A lot of students at school know my first name because other teachers keep slipping up and popping into the classroom to say 'Can I borrow Ruth for a second?' (I'm an ETA) - that really annoyed me the first few times it happened. One class even bugged me to heck until they guessed my second name (I wasn't quick enough denying it was guessed correctly, and I couldn't be bothered with the ten minutes of 'Is it? Is it? It is isn't it! Is it?' so I just affirmed it and moved on).

    To be honest it's not as big a deal as I thought it would be. Only one student persists in trying to use it and I just ignore him until he uses my surname, throwing a calm 'That's not what you should call me' his way and responding to someone else instead until he gets the message.

    If a student yells it across the yard then I try to not react at all (other students don't realise they're referring to me then) and if I see who it is I can then take them aside later and talk to them or pass it up the chain of command. It's hard when you don't know their names - it there a teacher who has been there longer who could stand with you one duty time to help ID culprits?

    (Ps - I agree that duty being done by non-SLT staff is ridiculous. I do one and students don't take a blind bit of notice cos I'm 'just a teaching assistant'. But then again it's all extra money in my case so no skin off my nose!).

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