To ask that school pupils use my first name, rather than mrs. Smith?

(57 Posts)
PramFaceBuggyBrain Sun 11-Nov-12 22:15:38

I'm a peripatetic percussion teacher in secondary schools and really dont like the formality of "Mrs Smith". aibu to ask that, in a school i'm about to start teaching in, that the pupils call me "Jane" instead? would this seem weird to the parents?

Trills Sun 11-Nov-12 22:16:49

If the school policy is that teachers are called Mr X and Mrs Y and Dr Z then it might seem a bit weird, but music teachers are allowed to be a bit strange smile

wonderstuff Sun 11-Nov-12 22:17:31

I think that will be fine. If you were a class teacher it would be different. The kids will call you 'miss' anyway.

meditrina Sun 11-Nov-12 22:17:40

I don't think the parents will take a view.

Much more important that you fit in with the norms of the school and the standards it wants, surely?

SandStorm Sun 11-Nov-12 22:17:53

I'm in a primary school and we have one teacher who uses her first name. The respect the children show her plummets in comparison to the other teachers so I would be very very wary of what you're proposing.

Hassled Sun 11-Nov-12 22:18:40

You need to keep a bit of distance, and the formality of Mrs Smith helps to reinforce the boundaries. You need to protect yourself from any allegations of inappropriate over-familarity, etc. There's a reason staff are Mrs Smith, etc.

Teeb Sun 11-Nov-12 22:20:12

I think it should really be the schools decision, so I would speak to whoever is in charge/above you and see what they think.

I can see some bratty kids calling other teachers by their first name and using the 'But the music teacher does it!' line.

picturesinthefirelight Sun 11-Nov-12 22:20:44

It wouldn't have been allowed in the schools dh has perried in. He's in the post 16 sector now so it's a bit different.

One school insists all teachers are called Sir or Madam.

I knew my violin and vocal teachers first names, but they were known as 'miss suchnsuch' I suppose it shows a respect?

MrsCantSayAnything Sun 11-Nov-12 22:21:18

We had one that called us Comrades and let us call him Terry. grin He was ace.

Chocolatephiladelphia Sun 11-Nov-12 22:22:53

As a teacher myself I would be very wary of going down this route.
I'd have thought a lot of respect is lost when you use first names.
The school I teach at would frown upon this.

Musomathsci Sun 11-Nov-12 22:22:55

I've always been Muso to home pupils but Mrs Mathsci in school, and when home pupils move to school, they call me Mrs Mathsci. The norm is for formal names in school environments, and you will just confuse everyone if you try to do something different. Parents, pupils, other staff will find it odd. (Sorry, that's usually the way it is.)

PramFaceBuggyBrain Sun 11-Nov-12 22:23:18

Thanks all. I'll check school policy. if Terry was ace, maybe I should take on that name. ;-)

Celticlassie Sun 11-Nov-12 22:24:33

I'd check the staff are ok with it. It'd feck me off no end having to listen to 'but Pramface lets us'.

PopMusicShoobyDoobyDoA Sun 11-Nov-12 22:28:03

It depends on the school policy, surely. Also, students are used to calling teachers as mr this or mrs that and may find it uncomfortable to call you by your first name as its breaking down the boundaries.

Nivet Sun 11-Nov-12 22:29:43

Mmmm, we had a teacher who wanted us to use her first name - she was forever known as "Call me Pippa" and it immediately signalled to us that she was going to be a complete push over.

Still you might be teaching nice children grin

LynetteScavo Sun 11-Nov-12 22:30:42

I think it depends on the school.

I don't think most parents will care either way. At my DC's junior school a man comes into do sports (covers PPA) and he is known by his first name. Nobody thinks it's weird, and he has huge respect from everyone. (Hes very good at what he does)

My DSs high school uses first names for all teachers. They are very hot on mutual respect, and therefore have no issues (that I've ever been aware of) with lack of respect.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Sun 11-Nov-12 22:31:32

The only teacher at my school who ever allowed themselves to be called by their first name was seen as the pushover teacher who didn't really require automatic respect.

ninah Sun 11-Nov-12 22:31:37

I would much much rather be called my first name than Mrs but it isn't done at any of the schools I've worked at (class teacher early years)

ninah Sun 11-Nov-12 22:32:54

lynette we've talked about schools before, live in same area - the high school you in question really appeals to me

PopMusicShoobyDoobyDoA Sun 11-Nov-12 22:34:09

Most say sir or miss anyway. Sometimes mum grin

freddiefrog Sun 11-Nov-12 22:35:19

I'm a helper at school and I'm known by my first name rather than Mrs Xxx

I was asked what I preferred, and I hate the formality of Mrs Xxx.

All teachers have to be known as Mrs/Miss/etc Xxxx, but TAs, office staff, dinner ladies, helpers can choose.

No parent has ever commented on it

cantspel Sun 11-Nov-12 22:36:44

I have one son in a secondary school where all the teachers get called sir or miss and another son in a school where all teachers are known by their first names (but it is a sen school)

So i think it comes down to the policy of the school rather than teacher preference

LynetteScavo Sun 11-Nov-12 22:55:13

ninah, I'm really pleased with the school. It will be my first choice for DS2 and DD. smile

musicposy Sun 11-Nov-12 23:06:43

You need to check with the school. It isn't down to you.
I taught as a class teacher for many years. It was drummed into us at teacher training college that we were Miss Smith whether we liked it or not.
Then I did private piano and keyboard teaching for many years. Most of those pupils call me by my first name, which I actually like much better.

Now, as well as the private teaching I am back in school again part time, this time as a peri music teacher, like you. The children call all the staff Sir or Miss. The staff call each other Sir or Miss in front of the children. I quickly caught the vibe that anything else would be frowned upon. So I am Miss along with all the other teachers. I'm not going to undermine the school's policies, no matter what I would personally prefer.

Of course, your school might not mind one way or the other and then you are fine. But if they don't like first names, I would go along with their policy unless you want a new percussion teacher to quickly take your place. smile

musicposy Sun 11-Nov-12 23:08:31

Btw, I don't think parents will care or think it odd one way or another.

Idocrazythings Sun 11-Nov-12 23:22:39

Well you could never be "miss Jane". Google miss Jane and mr squiggle- not sure how to put up YouTube links sorry

izzywizzyisbizzy Sun 11-Nov-12 23:26:50

As a parent, Id care, I may not say anything but I do not like the idea of teachers who become over familiar with their pupils and personally I would consider this as the start of a slippery slope.

ninah Sun 11-Nov-12 23:32:59

that's good lynette, the pupils I have met have been amazing and I like the ethos
on the nomeclature thing I do know parents who would be bothered by the first name thing. Op you have to go with school policy, as others have said.

ChippingInLovesAutumn Sun 11-Nov-12 23:34:27

I hate being called Mrs or 'Miss' (shudder), but I guess you have to go along with the school policy if they have one... if not, knock your socks off, the odd parent might have the strange view that it's a slippery slope - but frankly, the teachers that have been running off with their students seem to have been called Mr/Miss/Mrs at school - so the slippery slope thing doesn't really seem to work that way wink

ninah Sun 11-Nov-12 23:36:17

slippery slope to where, exactly? realising teacher are - gasp - human?

Dominodonkey Sun 11-Nov-12 23:40:25

pramface - If you were a f/t or p/t music teacher on the school staff then I would definitely say YABU. But I assume you teach very few pupils and only individually or in very small groups. Not to be rude but I doubt any of the school staff outside the music dept know who you are and do not care what you are called. The suggestion that hoards of children will be asking their teachers to call them by their first name as pram lets them just would not happen.
IMO it is a completely different job to a class teacher more akin to a sports coach. The relationship with the students would be quite different too.

izzywizzyisbizzy Sun 11-Nov-12 23:48:44

No, not slippery slope in that sense, but it encourages a sense of friends and helps break down barriers, I am not going to go into why in detail, but suffice to say, having had experience of a teacher who didn't maintain what I would consider an appropriate distance, and the fallout that disclosures to that teacher led to, thats the kind of slippery slope I mean.

Don't get me wrong, said teacher didn't do anything inappropriate, however, his inability to maintain an appropriately professional distance caused no end of problems, for himself and his pupils.

Teachers are - teachers, especially at secondary school level, calling your teacher say, John, rather than Mr. Smith, immediately starts to break down barriers.

InNeedOfBrandy Sun 11-Nov-12 23:53:50

music teachers are def allowed to be called by their first name.

I will always remember a Mr Flanigan first music lesson in year 7 he jumped on the table and said " this is my fucking classroom and I will jump swear and shout whenever I want to, also you can call me Tim" He was such a cool teacher till he got dismissed for looking at porn on his computer during school time apparently which wasn't a big deal compared to our lovely mrs "smith" who shagged a 6th former on the pool table

cory Mon 12-Nov-12 00:06:28

As a parent I can't say I'd care either way (I'm not the one who has to keep classroom discipline), but I suspect the other teachers might and if they feel it would make their work harder, then you need to respect that.

Dominodonkey Mon 12-Nov-12 00:35:00

Please read the op properly. She is not a classroom teacher.

Dominodonkey Mon 12-Nov-12 00:37:31

Sorry cory- read your post incorrectly. But I stand by my point 99% of the students won't have a clue who OP is.

I am also a little perturbed at the suggestion by some that calling your teacher by their first name is the first step to abuse.

muminthecity Mon 12-Nov-12 00:46:09

I'm surprised so many people think that using first names means you will not be respected. In my primary school all staff are known to the children by their first names, including the head. The children have no idea what our surnames are. I think the staff are still all respected.

SavoyCabbage Mon 12-Nov-12 00:59:37

At our school about a third of the teachers use their first name, including the strictest teacher in the school. There are also about six who use a shortened version of their surname. Mr Mac, Miss Bee, Mrs R.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Mon 12-Nov-12 01:00:29

I don't think it's necessarily the case that calling teachers by their first names leads to disrespect, but often the kind of teachers who instigate that when it's not the school's usual policy (the "Call me Pippa's") are the ones who try to be a bit matey with the kids/ treat it like a popularity contest, and that leads to problems. I do remember having a few like that, but the calling by a Christian name was a symptom of their overall approach, not the cause of them not being able to maintain classroom control for more than 2 mins.

However, as the Op's DH isnt a classroom teacher, i dont think it's such a biggie.

Here in Asia, kids often call the teacher "Miss, Mrs or Mr [first name], or sometimes "Teacher [first name].

Startail Mon 12-Nov-12 01:00:45

OUr HT got Huffy with the pupils for calling the PP music master "Fred", DD1 got huffy about the HT getting huffy and years later (she carried on having lessons with him privatly after going to high school, and still calls him Fred).

I think the only reason the HT moaned was the boys were very disrespectful and naughty with the lad who ran the football club and people able to coach at 3.30 are few and far between.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Mon 12-Nov-12 01:04:10

Sorry OP- for some reason I got it in my head that it was your DH, not you that was the percussion teacher- think it's because the drum teacher at school was a man [goes off to examine feminist conscience]

Cozy9 Mon 12-Nov-12 02:54:40

I think teachers should be called Sir or Miss by the pupils.

ChippingInLovesAutumn Mon 12-Nov-12 03:01:30

Why is that Cosy - why don't you think they should at least be Mr/Miss/Mrs Surname?

Joiningthegang Mon 12-Nov-12 07:20:03

I prefer forst names and dont think it leads to disrespect in any way.

Unless you think school will be very against it fo with your instinct.

At my kids achool there are a few ta's and all the after school coaches who are known by there firt names and no diseespebct there.

Brycie Mon 12-Nov-12 07:25:14

I've had this in a primary/secondary, I thnk it's a bit of a joke, but are you a different kind of teacher where it doesn't matter so much. It looks a bit "love me love me I'm so groovy" to me.

MrsCantSayAnything Mon 12-Nov-12 07:25:58

I respected my teacher "Terry" more than any other...we all did. He knew we were people and not faceless kids.

Brycie Mon 12-Nov-12 07:26:19

Yes Richman is right I think - well put.

Brycie Mon 12-Nov-12 07:27:46

Ninah: where to? first name teacher, massage in class..

ll31 Mon 12-Nov-12 07:55:43

all ds teacher s primary and secondary used first names - no problems

cory Mon 12-Nov-12 08:30:10

I certainly don't think first names has to lead to disrespect: in my old country it is all first names and no school uniforms and children are no more disrespectful than here. I come from a position of perceiving both uniforms and Mrs Smith as rather eccentric customs which are totally unrelated to actual performance; I did well at school in patched denims and clogs, thank you very much.

All the same, I think every school community has its own rules, some applying to the children, others to staff, some involving both, and whatever those particular rules happen to be in one particular place, it undermines respect if one individual who is not in charge takes it upon themselves to alter the goalposts. If one person doesn't follow school policy, then it suggests that perhaps school policy (whatever it may be) is not that important. And the regular staff might not appreciate someone putting that idea into the pupils' heads.

echt Mon 12-Nov-12 08:40:36

It's what the school wants.

When I was in FE, everyone from cleaner to principal was first name. No loss of respect or discipline.

In my secondary school in Oz, everyone is Ms/Mrs/Mr, etc. until you get to TAs, technicians or the school keeper, at which point they become first name buddies. But not to me; I insist on calling the said TAs, etc. Mr/Ms/Mrs when directing a student. Their faces as they try to figure out what I'm saying, but I don't give a feck: all adults should be accorded the same dignity.

DeWe Mon 12-Nov-12 09:45:58

I would have hated that as a pupil. It would have made me feel really awkward with the teacher, as if she was trying to be a friend too hard, if that makes sense.

Blu Mon 12-Nov-12 09:48:56

DS was in a primary where all adults were known by their first names and discipline and respect was excellent and specifically praised in the outstanding ofsted report. First names need not equal lack of respect at all.

However, I think if it is the norm in the school you need to check school policy and go along with it.

BrianGiggs Mon 12-Nov-12 09:49:21

You need to follow school policy.

BrianGiggs Mon 12-Nov-12 09:50:03

also if you are the only one using a first name it looks slightly ingratiating.
We had this at ours and it drove the other staff nuts

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 12-Nov-12 09:56:24

I think you do have to go with what the school normally does - though I can understand preferring your first name. It risks looking a bit try-hard down with the kidz.

I loathe 'sir and miss' with a passion though - it should be title surname, if that's what they're doing.

Quaker school near us only uses first names - are the ones people have mentioned above Quaker schools, or is this something that's catching on?

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