Question for teachers. How important is it to get children's names right?

(46 Posts)
LadyIsabellaWrotham Wed 15-May-13 17:43:14

Just curious I guess.

DD's KS2 class is up in arms about their current teacher (long term supply, been in place since March) who they dislike for a number of reasons, but their number one beef is that she consistently mispronounces several children's names, even after correction. All the names are pretty unusual, not top 100, maybe not even top 1,000, but they're not objectively tricky (no suspicion of covert racism, which sometimes lies behind this issue).

So would you agree they're right to be pissed off? DD not affected, so it really is idle curiosity.

Hulababy Wed 15-May-13 20:22:32

I sometimes get names wrong - sometimes if I have mixed up a couple of children. And yes, sometimes I have said the names wrong. I have had two children with same spelling and then being pronounces differently - Jai and Ayesha are two recent ones for me, for example. Mind you - our children are very quick to remind us if anyone does say it wrong smile

And yes - especially before I got married my name was often said wrong by children. I often get Miss rather than Mrs (weekly at very least) and sometimes just get someone else's name entirely - another member of staff, mum...etc. It doesn't upset or bother me. I just smile, remind the, where appropriate and move on.

heggiehog Wed 15-May-13 20:38:21

As a child, teenager and young adult, I could never understand why teachers and professors always got names wrong. I couldn't comprehend how they could be so "stupid." Now as a teacher myself, I get it.

A constant stream of hundreds of new faces, new names, different pronunciations of the same spelling, children who look identical to their siblings, children who remind you of someone else you've taught. Also the fact that you're having to do multiple things at once at any point in the day (i.e. teach the whole class, write on the board, and praise Tim and praise Jenny at the same time as keeping an eye on Tom, who is misbehaving, who looks similar to Tim and sits next to Jim).

Not bothering to learn a child's name properly is rude but getting names muddled up is something that comes with the territory.

MiaowTheCat Wed 15-May-13 20:46:03

I did supply for many many years - where you're much more likely to fall foul of name pronunciations, nicknames being/not being used, not knowing that Freddie is always called Brian and whatever else.

Any that were commonly said a couple of different ways I'd clarify when doing the register first thing - the usual one was Aaron (Ah-ron or Air-ron) and just ask the child which version they were (if they looked baffled I'd explain I used to teach one who got very very cross when people picked the wrong way to say it), I'd also check with commonly shortened names whether the child was a Sam or Samuel for example... but sometimes you can't be expected to know that Fred is pronounced Kylie or whatever and if no one corrects you - you're not going to know.

If a kid or adult corrected me on one - I'd always say I'd try to remember, but if I slipped up, keep reminding me since sometimes my brain's useless with names and I'd be better off giving up and calling everyone Bob (which kids invariably thought was hilarious and all would start begging to be called Bob afterwards). Yes, everyone has brain failures at times - but if it doesn't sink in after a decent amount of contact with the class, especially with a supply for whom part of the job is learning enough names to get by as quickly as possible - then it's a bit shitty of them.

As for kids getting my own name wrong - before I got married I had a real pain in the arse name to spell and say. I remember one day when a lad wanted to say something to me - got as far as "Miss" and then you could see his mind go blank and his eyes frantically roam the room trying to remember what I was called and latching onto the WW2 wall display he called me "Mrs Gas Mask". Bless him!

Pozzled Thu 16-May-13 07:32:21

I work in a school where every year around half of the names in my class will be names that I've never heard before. Often with pronunciations that are very different to how they 'look'. I do work really hard at learning them and always make it clear that the child should correctme if I make a mistake. However, I do occasionally get it wrong, and a few children seem to let it go, rather than telling me.

The worst thing is that I never seem to retain the names for long once I've stopped teaching them. When I see past pupils from several years ago, I feel bad because I remember the face and personality, but not the name.

redskyatnight Thu 16-May-13 08:52:30

Not quite the same thing but DD's cover teacher last year consistently mixed up her name with the names of 3 other girls in her class. (they all have very "Normal" names. To the point that DD knew on cover teacher days, that whatever she was going to called it was unlikely to be her own name. I do sympathise if you're a cover teacher you have more names to remember than most, but by the end of the year DD just wanted to be called the correct name!!

She also had a Jessica in her class who liked to be called Jessica, but the teacher constantly called her "Jessie" (which was the name a Jessica in her previous class had preferred to be called).

orangeandemons Thu 16-May-13 09:03:45

Some of us teach over 300 different children a year AND the groups swap over 1/2 way through the year.

Can be a trifle difficulties remember all the names.

Chopstheduck Thu 16-May-13 09:16:56

dt1 dislikes it, but is usually too embarrassed to correct it. And dt2 laughs when people get it wrong, which irritates him even more!

I accept it is hard for teachers to get all names right, but when it is a slightly unusual name, you would think it would be easier to remember! Throughout primary school, people were constantly pronouncing it wrong. Some made more effort than others I had one teacher who had me remind her twice a term, but at least she made the effort.

When he went up to the Juniors I added a note to his registration form, with the phonetic symbols on how to pronounce it. No problems at all this year! His name is Ravi and everyone reads it as RAV-i with an 'a' sound like in bat. It's more of an 'u' sound like in rug. RUH-vi. In Hindi the spelling between the two pronunciations would be totally different.

AwsomeMrsFox Thu 16-May-13 09:46:33

When I was in year 6 (many many years ao ;-) ) I had a teacher who took weeks to learn my name (very common name) and if he did remember it he would mis pronounce it (eg Anne instead of Anna). I was already a bit sefl-conscious and may be low self esteem, and I can't tell you how awful this was for me - it made me feel unnoticed, unimportant. It might seem trivial from ana adults point of view, but to the children it can be significant.

If the teacher mispronounces all the names, that is one thing at least the children are all equal, but if it id just a few then that differentiates them in a negative way.

MarianForrester Thu 16-May-13 09:53:14

I think it is very important, though I am not a teacher.

Dd had a teacher who not only called her by the wrong name (similar but not the same) but wrote it on her books, even after correction (by me as dd is a gentle soul but was upset by it).

I think it's crucial and I always make a point of getting all names right as soon as possible in September (I'm secondary). My HOD last year had to sit with class photos in front of her at Parents' Evening in February as she had absolutely no idea what her classes were called. No memory issues, honestly she just couldn't care less. Kids really really care that you say and spell their names right.

LazyMonkeyButler Thu 16-May-13 10:09:50

When DS1 was younger the school register/computer system had his first name wrong! It was a similar name, but definitely wrong. We even had letters sent home referring to "Jake". We have no Jake, we do have a Jack though hmm.

We have an uncommon surname & DS1 was down as Jake Uncommon-Surname & with his correct date of birth - so it was definitely a data entry error rather than him being mixed up with another pupil.

TBH, I saw the funny side of it until the Year 1 teacher phoned me to complain that DS1 "Jake" was "rude and ignorant" for not responding to her. I had to point out that things might improve if she used his actual name - there was another genuine Jake in the class, so DS1 had no idea teacher was calling him! Funnily enough, by the next parents evening things were much better grin. Said teacher never apologised though hmm.

DeWe Thu 16-May-13 10:27:02

It didn't really bother me at school. What I didn't like was being called by a nickname associated with my surname. It wasn't offensive, just I didn't like it.

We had one teacher who constantly called all Carolines, Carolyn. My friend used to correct him every time. it got to be a joke between them. Later we found out his wife was Carolyn.

Also if I get something wrong in my head I can find it very difficult to get out of it. Correcting me just makes me flustered and even more likely to get it wrong.
My df had a thing about saying "different to" or "different from". I can't remember which way he thought it was correct even now. He ranted at the radio many times. I ended up just avoiding using the term at all-which you can't do with a name, because I was worried about getting it wrong, so my mind just blanks it.

SavoyCabbage Thu 16-May-13 10:33:51

I heard the ledasha thing this very day, doing supply in a class where of the dc was called Bear. I live in Australia.

iseenodust Thu 16-May-13 10:55:44

Mrz I have often called DS the dog's name. blush

DS actually commented recently that his teacher doesn't spell his surname correctly. So I lept to the schools defence saying I'm sure it was a one off. However a look at the merit/attendance/effort certificates on our fridge proved he was right. I was a bit surprised as we have a bog standard surname & it's correct on all 'official' school correspondence.

CounselorTroi Mon 20-May-13 21:08:59

you're not in the East Mids by any chance are you mrz? MY colleague tells me he has seen evidence of a La-a in his school!

mrz Mon 20-May-13 21:14:55

My colleague is currently working in West Yorkshire

nightingalefloor Mon 20-May-13 21:50:59

Not a teacher, but it took the TA in DD's class months to get her name right. DD's name is fairly uncommon but not unheard of, but if you stick an extra letter in it, it becomes a place name. If you keep the extra letter and and switch one of the other letters, it becomes a country. Cue lots of "Ohhhhh, I thought she was X, as in the country!" for the first term hmm

GW297 Mon 20-May-13 22:46:52

It's really important to pronounce them correctly and try your best to remember them, I am a supply teacher.

TheSecondComing Mon 20-May-13 22:56:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

zingally Wed 05-Jun-13 20:32:23

Whenever I get a new class, I make a game out of it. All the chn stand up, and they sit as I point at them and say the name. They strangely love it, and ask to play it LONG after I've learnt them all.

(I'm usually pretty good and know them all by day 3)

Strangely though, there are always 2 I get muddled for much longer. Last year it was 2 boys, Jay and Thomas, who looked a little alike.
This year it was Eleanor and Harriet, who look NOTHING alike!

zingally Wed 05-Jun-13 20:34:24

Did feel sorry for the Reception teacher in my school last year, who had Kynan, Kian (Ky-an) and Kian (Kee-an).

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