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When members of staff are called 'nicknames' - how do you confront it?

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by RaymondSoltysek, Feb 14, 2011.

  1. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    Well, with a surname like mine, believe me I've heard it all! My favourite was Salt'n'Shake, though there were a few ruder ones too.
    What did I do? Tended to laugh it off and then get down to business. They're kids - and I used to do the same.
    However, there's a sexual harassment element to your situation that you should deal with as forcefully as possible if it ever becomes overt and you can pin it down - which is sometimes difficult.
    Actually, it's a lot more childish when adults do it - as an abusive poster on here tried to do once.
  2. LittleStreams

    LittleStreams New commenter

    I have a nickname based on my last name too. I tend to laugh it off, and actually it has now become a name more of affection than to upset me. The kids decided I had a sense of humour. But then mine was initially said in a tone of fun, rather than malicious intent. I think that is the difference. Are the kids just trying to have a bit of fun at your expense, or are they saying it to be malicious. Kids have said things to me that are said to be malicious, and they find then that I no longer have a sense of humour.
  3. No matter how inoffensive many SLT's will try to discipline teachers who have 'a bit of fun' at the students expense. With this in mind I think it is entirely inappropriate for students to call teachers names even if it is a bit of lighthearted fun.
    My advice would be to remind the student (in as flat a tone as possible) that you expect to be treated with the same courtesy you show them and possibly warn them that the next time they choose to disrespect you they are choosing to be punished accordingly.
  4. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    I do hope you mean that you consider such a reaction as inappropriate for you, Mr Leonard, and you aren't accusing those with a different opinion of being "inappropriate".
    Sounds like excellent assertive discipline practice to me. Good advice.
  5. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    Never get angry at these comments, as that simply fuels the flames of their delight. As indicated earlier, take the culprit aside (if it's a public area) or simply tell them in class that you don't appreciate nicknames, however gentle. It's not an appropriate way to treat a teacher and an adult.
    The next time it happens, set a sanction (with as little emotion as possible- they need to learn that your punishments will be triggered without ceremony and fuss, merely certainty) and call home letting the parents know that the son/ daughter has been behaving rudely.
    And every time anyone uses the name to you, do the same for them. They'll soon learn that you deserve to be treated with respect. And if there are any sexual or sexist connotations to the comments then they need to be stamped on especially quickly. If the kids see that you tolerate this, then I fear where they will go next. Move your boundaries forward a few metres, until you achieve a comfort zone you are comfortable with.
    Good luck
  6. 'SLT's will try to discipline teachers who have 'a bit of fun' at the students expense. With this in mind I think it is entirely inappropriate for students to call teachers names even if it is a bit of lighthearted fun.'

    Quite. If I'm not rude about someone, I don't see any reason why I should be expected to accept rudeness from them. If people want to accept nicknames 'in good humour', that's fine for them; but many people do not appreciate silly demeaning -- as it often is---- behaviour like that, and are also entitled to their response, without being accused of having no sense of humour... a tactic bullies often use to legitimize unacceptable behaviour. Even if the nickname isn't particularly offensive in itself, its use as common currency often causes problems for the target, as appears to be the case in the OP. It's not exactly easy to be an authority figure at the best of times; impossible if there's a lot of muttering and sniggering going on, when people are supposed to be focused on learning. There were nicknames for teachers when I was at school, but they would never have been used in the person's presence, even though they were usually pretty harmless... variations on their names, etc.
  7. Zadok1

    Zadok1 New commenter

    If you're brave enough you could tackle the problem head on. The text you refer to isn't too long... I suggest you read the book. (BTW the book and the film generally used give the character different hair colour so that's interesting). The point is that they have misunderstood the character... students often think she's a tart and therefore blame her for the events of the story... until they look deeper at her character. In reality she has been abused by men who have tried to trick her to get her into bed, when they leave her she blames her mother, thinking that these men were trying to contact her and her mother was hiding letters etc, so she ran off and married the next man who paid her attention. Having married him he turns out to be a controlling bully. In the text she has been given the message that the only attention she gets is from men who find her attractive and therefore she uses what she has got in order to try and make contact with people... she's just very lonely.
    The whole text is about loneliness and she is there to demonstrate another aspect of it. I'd be tempted to ask them head on why they think you are like her... you could tell them that it's a compliment if they think you are as attractive as her... but that you're not lonely and ask if they have ever seen you flirt with people? The question I always ask my class is why is flirting so wrong? Haven't they ever flirted with someone?... and if they haven't they really need to get out there and have a go before they condemn it! It also gives you the opportunity to discuss the connotations of what they are saying in terms of it being sexual harassment. If you don't feel confident doing this on your own try asking one of the English staff to support you in this... to be there when you talk to the kids, if fact I'd ask their English teacher to keep them behind and you join them.

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