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Telling children they are awful

Discussion in 'Primary' started by hhhh, Oct 22, 2017.

  1. hhhh

    hhhh Lead commenter

    My friend says that her daughter has just told her that a member of staff at their local school asked her and two other students to go for reading lessons with her, but called them names such as 'Awful Anna', 'Terrible Tim' etc. She told her daughter that the woman was probably joking (the mum says one of the children she called out is a very well behaved boy who could already read Harry Potter before starting school).
    But is it now acceptable to do this? These children are 7. The school has a very mixed intake-some children are from rich backgrounds, some from homes where no-one has ever worked, there are (she says) children with GDD/SEN in class...in any case, she says there is quite of lot of bullying and thinks that staff speaking like this is unlikely to help.
  2. Braindead101

    Braindead101 New commenter

    I don't think that this sort of name calling is appropriate, although I do agree it was probably meant in jest. The trouble is, what happens when the children's peers start calling them the same names in the playground, especially if there is already a climate of bullying.
    How would we feel if our line managers started calling us Awful Anna and Terrible Tim in a staff meeting? Would we be happy if we heard a parent say "Little Johnny's now in Awful Anna's class." I would advise your friend to take this up with the teacher and ask for it to be stopped.
  3. asnac

    asnac Established commenter

    Shall we ban Horrid Henry (other characters Perfect Peter, Moody Margaret, Sour Susan etc.)? Perhaps the children were reading or discussing these very books.

    Good for understanding of alliteration, good for awareness of adjectives. I expect that the teacher was being playful and instructive at the same time.

    How little teachers are trusted these days.
    Pomz, blueskydreaming, drvs and 5 others like this.
  4. Pencilplayground

    Pencilplayground New commenter

    If it was said once it was definitely meant as a joke or examples of alliteration as the post above suggests. It would be an over reaction to do anything.

    If it's being used everytime then, your friend's daughter should say I don't like that name to the teacher. Easily solved.
  5. grumbleweed

    grumbleweed Lead commenter

    Of course do check if it's actually true and hasn't been taken out of context or misunderstood. Awful Anna isn't very good alliteratively anyway, angry Anna would be better if that's the point . My grandson would be deeply upset by this if he didn't 'get' what was going on.
  6. modgepodge

    modgepodge Occasional commenter

    I can only imagine it must be a joke! This is exactly the sort of thing I might do, but only with a class I knew well and children who'd take it as a joke. Sometimes as we leave the room, if I'm in a good mood I'll say "come on you horrible lot!", usually met with loud protests of "hey, we're not horrible!" and they know I don't mean it. I have a good relationship with my class and lots of parents recently commented at parents evening that their children like me, so I assume it's fine!

    That said, if a parent spoke to me and said their child was upset by this, I'd be mortified. I'd apologise to the parent and the child, explain to the child that it was a joke and that would be the end of it.

    I guess what matters is whether the children involved know it was a joke and if they are upset. Assuming they're not, I don't think other people's opinions matter. Especially if other children within the class recognised it as a joke!
  7. Braindead101

    Braindead101 New commenter

    No, I don't think we should ban characters like that. They're fiction. But I do think we should have respect for our students and not name call.
  8. Ds2d12

    Ds2d12 Occasional commenter

    When did children and adults become so soft?
    Pomz, drvs, george1963 and 2 others like this.
  9. Braindead101

    Braindead101 New commenter

    It's nothing to do with "softness". It's to do with politeness, consideration and, as I mentioned before, respect.
    I would want to work in a school that embodied those values and send my children to such a school, rather than one which tolerates negative values.
  10. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    It's the kind of thing I might say, especially for those for whom it clearly isn't true.
    My two most well behaved, dream children are often referred to as the 'Terrible Twosome'.

    We cannot judge without knowing the teacher, the children, the context, the intent, or any other such thing.

    Some people 'get' teasing and some don't. Sometimes teachers who 'get' it slightly misjudge that a particular child will. Doesn't mean they are a terrible teacher and should be hauled over the coals for it, merely that they should be alerted so as to make a different choice of word next time.
  11. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    LOL I've been called far worse!!!!!
    And it has been meant as fun and taken as such.
    squashball, Pomz and Isobeleh like this.
  12. CWadd

    CWadd Senior commenter

    I think you need to get some context - was it in jest or deadly serious?

    If its the former, and the students understand that, there is no issue.

    If its the latter, it is.
    Pomz and caterpillartobutterfly like this.
  13. abacus1982

    abacus1982 Occasional commenter

    I taught a boy who was a complete delight to teach. He knew it, his parents knew it but after teaching him I always affectionately greeted him with “hello trouble”. This included seeing him years later at secondary school. Context the key, ive always joked with children and would hate it if I had to stop this.
  14. drvs

    drvs Star commenter

    Good grief.
    qforshort and Pomz like this.
  15. markuss

    markuss Occasional commenter

    Repetition of vowel sounds is not taught as being alliteration in Primary, is it?
    (It's usually called assonance as in "Angry Anna".)
  16. asnac

    asnac Established commenter

    OED: The occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words. Early 17th century: from medieval Latin alliteratio(n-), from Latin ad- (expressing addition) + littera ‘letter.

    That would include repeated vowels. Correct, 'assonance' is often used instead for this - but assonance itself means more than just that. So as not to overload young children with technicalities, I would always call it alliteration.
    alexanderosman likes this.
  17. drvs

    drvs Star commenter

    That's hilarious given the direction that the national curriculum has taken with KS2.
    bevdex likes this.

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