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Miss, what's your first name?

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by minnieminx, Mar 19, 2011.

  1. mercer77

    mercer77 New commenter

    If pupils ask my first name I tell them, but then explain that at school they call me Mr Mercer as that's the school rule and they need to stick to it like everyone else. My facebook is locked down to non-friends (I think, must check....!) Trying to withhold information from them just sparks their interest even more and they know it's something they can badger you about. I firmly believe that children should never be lied to unless it's absolutely necessary - treat them like young adults and (fingers crossed) they might start acting like them.

    One thing I really cannot stand is being called "mate" by children. They get quite a lecture when that happens...

    "I am not your "mate", I am your teacher, you can call me "Mr Mercer" or "Sir" if you cannot remember my name...."

    I carry on talking in great detail the precise nature of our relationship until their eyes glaze over... :)
  2. I'd listen to Tom, definitely sound advice.
  3. garyconyers

    garyconyers New commenter

    Of course it wasn't an attack on all University based teacher trainers. It was aimed specifically at James, who IMO has demonstrated that he hasn't a clue about real teaching conditions in real schools. Its just Raymond attempting to smear me (again) and wilfully misrepresent my postings (again, I mean 'prejudice' - LOL). I can't even ask a polite question without an over-reactive response! Can you stop please, Raymond. Its getting tiresome and won't prevent me from posting.
    The point I was actually making - about James! When I've been involved with observing student teachers I've only chatted to a few teacher trainers. My experience of chatting to them made them seem out of touch. I always advised student teachers to plan for misbehaviour - know what steps they would take in managing the behaviour. Make discipline part of the planning. All the teacher trainers I spoke to said this was unnecessary as if the lesson was engaging the children wouldn't misbehave. For example. I doubt many teachers who work in schools agree with this. These trainers are so out of touch they haven't a clue - like James! There is no way, on reading Raymond's posts, I put him in that category. I agree with most of what he says, his advice mirrors what I've said to new teachers over the years.
  4. Just tell them your name, I don't think its a big problem
    A nice activity I do on the first day of a school year (this could also be apporpiate to do now to get these questions out of the way) is give the children a quiz on the first day. I ask ten questions about me that of course they will have no idea as to the answers. Their answers are usually very amusing. Then I give them the answers such as my name age, brothers and sisters, hobbies etc etc.
    This then feeds on to them sharing details about themselves. Could be where they state 4 facts, one of which is made up. Class have to guess which one is untrue. Nice PSHE tho of course it depends on the age of your students. Its a good ice breaker for Y7 and below and gets these questions out of the way.
    As for FB - just tell them its only for close friends and family so even if they invite you, you won't accept a request.... Job done.
    Good luck on your placement.
  5. I don't see the problem with the students knowing a teacher's first name. In many countries it is normal to call the teacher by the first name and even a nick-name. It doesnt give the teacher any more control or respect to be called by the surname or by miss or mr or sir.
    I am currently teaching in Australia and although the students call me miss, they all know my first name as it is on my name badge as is every teacher's full name.
    Keep your Facebook off limits but dont worry so much about first names - they dont provide the students with any leverage and in my opinion the spanish have the right idea, firstnames and no uniform in all their state schools in Malaga.

  6. I totally agree with you and had the same experience when living in Spain. In Australia(where I am now) they call the teachers by sir/miss/mr but the first name is on the name tag so everyone knows it. The kids don't seem to pay attention to it at all. In fact my kids when asked don't know any of their teacher's first names despite the name being in front of them on a tag.
    When they were in Spain they didnt know their teachers' surnames.
  7. garyconyers

    garyconyers New commenter

    I told classes my first name if asked. I remember as a new teacher thinking it would cause problems, but realised the guessing game in not saying "it's Gary, why?" caused more of a distraction from the work than was worth it!
    If a pupil called me Gary I'd remind them that they should use my surname or say 'sir'. I see it as similar to being called 'mate' in a classroom. Its not impolite but not approporiate.
    Calling a teacher by their first name can be used to be deliberately cheeky but so can a myriad of other things if pupils want to, even if they don't know the first name of the teacher. If there's a good relationship built up it shouldn't be an issue.
  8. Leonard 'So who can anyone tell which one of these examples is not a similie?
    Chelsy 'Sir what's your first name?'
    The problem isn't that children know your name, the problem is when they ask personal questions to disrupt lessons. Telling them your name encourage them to ask more intrusive and personal questions...
    'Sir how old are you?'
    'Miss are you married?'
    'Miss do you like X factor?'
    'Miss do you like teabagging?'
    'Sir are you gay?'
    For pity sake you are a teacher not a celebrity. A few might be genuinely interested in you but I'd wager that most are playing along because it is easier than a proper lesson.
    It probably works with younger children because they are too scared to rebel against it. Most children I know hate PSHE.
    Or perhaps don't mention it at all.

  9. garyconyers

    garyconyers New commenter

    A good point, well made. I rarely revealed anything personal about myself (except my name), but found it easier to tell them then move on. That's my experience, anyway.
    My favoured way of dealing with repeated personal questions was "you should be working not chatting about me. If you want to know see me at the end of the day, if you're that interested." No one ever did. Then if anyone carried on it was a disciplinary issue as I'd said they could ask at the end of the day not now. Now is for working.
    I'd like to think most teachers realised that pupils asking personal questions was a way of avoiding work....
  10. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    So calling James a university teacher trainer is an insult then?
    So you do have a generalised opinion of university based teacher trainers then?
    I have no objection to you posting gary. I do object to you complaining about people "smearing" you in a self righteous tone and then claiming you never "smear" others. You obviously have in this case. Holier-than-thou doesn't work with me - a simple apology for putting your foot in it might.
  11. It is on my photo ID for the agency I work for so I am stuffed.


  12. Ignoring the usual irrationalities from the 'angry brigade', it's good to see so many occasional posters on this thread making the obviously sensible point. Best thing would be to make a full list of staff names, including first names, available to all students (and parents), say via the school website, then any behaviour problems will be unrelated to something as trivial as a name, but to the range of other relationship building challenges all teachers face. Some of us are just too attracted, I suppose, to this sort of obsessive secrecy and distrust of students, which only winds some of them up unnecessarily.
    It was good also to get some comparisons with other countries, many of us are unaware of how odd some of our British customs are, based as they are on our authoritarian cultural and educational history. I spent some time recently with some Swedish prospective teachers, and they were taken aback at how bizarre some aspects of our student/teacher relationships are.
  13. Perhaps some examples would help here?
    Is anyone advocating that our first names should be kept secret from students? The point isn't about the students knowing our names it is about badly behaved students deliberately disrupting lessons by asking off topic and personal questions - 'Sir what is your first name?' is one of the least intrusive but the lesson is still disrupted. I'd wager that students only get 'wound up' when a teacher doesn't resort to appeasement by insisting that the lesson continue.
    Is being told to '*** off' having politely asked a child you've never met before to pick up their litter a 'relationship building challenge'?
    Are you suggesting that our education system is authoritarian now?
  14. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    Are you suggesting it's democratic?
  15. garyconyers

    garyconyers New commenter

    I agree that schools are different in other countries, the relationships between British teachers and pupils are not the same as those for other countries. Are you aware, James, of how shocked teachers who have moved to Britain, who have taught in schools in their country of origin, are with the behaviour, rudeness, abusiveness and lack of discipline by children in British schools? I've chatted to teachers who've taught in China, Jamaica, India, Nigeria..... All are appalled at behaviour that wouldn't be tolerated, just wouldn't happen in 'their countries'.
    Have they tried to teach in mainstream British schools? They would be more taken aback by how they treated their teachers if they did!

    Agreed! The last school I taught in was once a brilliant school. A new HT (who I believed used James' principles) used to listen far more to the children than the teachers, undermining the teachers in the process. Behaviour plumetted. The teachers got so fed up they ended up on strike. The kids loved the HT, but anarchy ruled. It was awful, apparently.
  16. garyconyers

    garyconyers New commenter

    I've kept in touch with some teachers. A more 'authoritarian' HT has since taken over. A no-nonsense approach to pupil indiscipline is now in place. Guess what - things are a lot better there now.


    From the TES article:
    "Striking was the only option because an action plan to address discipline had not been implemented, she said.
    In the past year one pupil has been accused of a stabbing in a fight outside school and others have put tripwires on stairways and corridors at ankle, neck and eye level."
    Given that that would sound incredible to some people (childen don't put tripwires on stairways, don't be so ridiculous), I wonder if James doubts the validity of these claims. Especially after he dismissed the comments of an nqt, basically calling her a liar because he didn't want to believe her experiences could be true!

    I know I don't teach any more, but I feel my views are valid on this point. I didn't mind pupils knowing my name, but know how disruptive it can be for pupils to constantly ask unnecesary, intrusive, personal questions. How this can be translated to "obsessive secrecy " I've no idea. There has to be a professional distance between pupil and teacher IMO. They are not your friends, they do not need to know all your intimate secrets! Some pupils can and will take it too far!

    If James thinks an 'authoritarian' approach (that works) is so bad, (if he does, I'm not sure) could he please (for once) clearly explain what his views on discipline are, without vague, meaningless phrases?
  17. To paraphrase a certain gentleman immersed in "the poetry of Khitai, the philosophy of Sung":
    Crush your pupils
    See them labour before you
    Hear the lamentation of their parents!
    Now a direct quote, from the play "Unman, Wittering and Zigo"*
    "Authority is a necessary evil, and every bit as evil as it is necessary".
    *Absent (for those who know the play. For those who don't - I recommend it!)
    I could take Lao Zi slightly out of context here and say
    "When there are names it is time to stop." (Dao De Jing, Lau translation)
  18. Hi Guys, I enjoyed your quotes and comments very much!
    It's just that this poor little NQT will be running away from her newly found profession as soon as she found it if you baffle her with all this malarkey. I would say that the little darling Year Fives sense your newness, you have to just come back with "It's not really your business" and leave it at that. You are in charge.
    Ps. This is my first post, hope it's well received and not too bolshy as I use TES for resources a lot!
  19. Lol, Sardonicus, you are a barbarian, but I like you! A bit way, way over Mr Loanard's head however, I fear. [​IMG]

  20. "Lol, Sardonicus, you are a barbarian, but I like you! A bit way, way over Mr Loanard's head however, I fear. [​IMG]"
    Another unneccessary pop at one of the other posters JamesTES. Why the provocation?

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