Double barrelled surname - teacher's opinions please

(88 Posts)
stickygotstuck Mon 16-Dec-13 11:31:23

I'd appreciate some perspective on this, because both DH and I are getting quite annoyed about this now.

My DD has a double-barrelled surname. It's long. That's one of the reasons she doesn't have a middle name and her first name is very short. Let's call her Sticky Got-Stuck.

She started school in September. On her school books her surname was misspelled (say Sticky Gott-Stuck). We corrected that. It keeps cropping up misspelled. We don't want to be a nuisance so haven't pointed it out again, but felt we'd have to at some point soon. Then last week she brought a new book where the order was reversed to Sticky Stuck-Got. (Just why? confused).

I spoke to her teacher on Friday, and when I politely pointed out that it has been spelled in many different ways, could we please stick to the one version, she asked me "How would you like it, just 'Got' then?". I replied "No, just spelled correctly". I started to explain that DD is learning to spell her name properly and she is getting confused with so many versions. And she cut me off saying "well, yes, it's very long isn't it?".

I came away feeling patronised and with the distinctive feeling that it inconveniences her.

So any teachers with any strong opinions/extensive experience out there? Does it really make your life difficult?

I will just point out that one of her classmates also has a double-barrelled surname (athough much shorter) and this has never been an issue for them.

JanePurdy Mon 16-Dec-13 11:33:53

Good grief, I am neither a teacher nor an owner of a double-barrelled name but I think your teacher is being unreasonable.

columngollum Mon 16-Dec-13 11:36:45

Why don't you just teach her to spell it and let her point out in future when it has been spelled incorrectly.

You're obviously correct when you point out to the teachers that they've spelled your family name incorrectly, but most people don't like having their deficiencies pointed out to them. And in this case, although irritating for you, it's probably not worth creating a bad relationship with the school over.

ThomasLynn Mon 16-Dec-13 11:38:21

I've not a double barreled surname, but it's in two parts, say "Hannah Robertson Yates"

Same issues. Hannah Yates, Hannah Robertson, Hannah Yates Robertson...
It's Hannah Robertson Yates!

YANBU, teacher is BVU.

eurochick Mon 16-Dec-13 11:40:12

The teacher appears not to "approve" of db surnames. She is BVU.

lilyaldrin Mon 16-Dec-13 11:42:11

Go to the office and make sure it is correct on their copy of her records.

columngollum Mon 16-Dec-13 11:46:08

Sorry, Hannah, but your post made me laugh. You sound like my dad.

stickygotstuck Mon 16-Dec-13 11:51:28

Thanks for the replies, glad to see I am not going mad.

Thomas, DD's name is also in two parts which is why we added the hyphen for school purposes, to avoid any confusion. (Like that's helped!). Mine is also in two parts and I feel your pain!

column, that's the issue, I certainly don't want to create any bad feelings. But I will not be (repeatedly) patronised, especially by a teacher who cannot be bothered to spell her own pupils' names correctly.

The way I look at it, it's a slippery slope which can lead to DD being walked all over. This may sound like an overreaction, but the patronising is not new and I feel a small stand must be made now rather than later.

Wanna bet that the next time DD's name will come up as "Sticky Got", or even "Sticky Gott"?

columngollum Mon 16-Dec-13 11:52:58

No one ever gets our name right. My mother used to ignore the problem. I sometimes got the feeling that she didn't notice the mistakes (but I bet she did.) I give people the choice of methods. Sometimes I point out to people that it's not that important, (like delivery men who insist on re-spelling it on those horrible little non-computers that they all use these days.) Some spend ages re-writing it. But my dad, well!

My nephew has an 11-letter surname and I remember thinking that the "learn to write your name" task was harder for him than others! But a surname is a surname - a teacher wouldn't have suggested chopping his 11-letter surname in half to make it easier! So, YANBU and you are right to ask them to spell it correctly.

CMOTDibbler Mon 16-Dec-13 11:59:26

YANBU and the teacher is being very weird about it. My ds has a db name, and its been misspelled on a number of things. I neatly line through it and write it in correctly. My surname has a number of legitimate alternate spellings, but dhs surname is short and a very common word but no one spells it correctly either

noblegiraffe Mon 16-Dec-13 12:17:07

I've noticed at secondary school that a lot of kids who are double barrelled on sims only use one of the names on their exercise books. You might find that you are fighting a losing battle!

IsawJimmykissingSantaClaus Mon 16-Dec-13 12:40:19

The teacher is BU and rude to boot. If I was told I had misspelt a child's name I would have apologised and rectified matters even if it meant replacing tray labels etc.

nonicknameseemsavailable Mon 16-Dec-13 12:44:13

I am surprised they write her surname on everything. My daughter's school stuff is all just her first name other than her reading record. Where there is more than one child with the same name they are just first name and initial of surname.

what would the teacher do with some of the foreign names in our school, they seem to average over 10 letter and include some wonderful combinations of letters. (I secretly wish we had one as they are such lovely names and they make our name seem very dull)

HOWEVER for ease I would check with the office that it is right as has already been suggested, ask to check it is right on the class list and then just quietly correct it. Majority of families I know who are DB tend to just go down to single at school (although I do know a DB DB child which I feel quite sorry for as her name is now about 35 letters long)

CalamitouslyWrong Mon 16-Dec-13 12:45:49

DS2's teacher has a long, double barrelled surname. It hasn't been a barrier to her being a reception teacher. I don't see how it could be a problem for a reception child either.

ElfOnTheShelf Mon 16-Dec-13 13:01:51

We have a db name (not both our names when we married but DH's family name). It's long too and is actually spelt without a hyphen and we used to get called all sorts so over the years we've sneaked one in and it's now on marriage cert, passports, driving licence etc and DD has the hyphenated version on her bc. We've not had any issues with school except sometimes they leave the hyphen out but I draw one in and it's no problem.

Your DD's teacher is bvvvu and rather rude actually as a persons name is their identity so to write it wrong means they aren't important imho.

Definitely mention it.

ElfOnTheShelf Mon 16-Dec-13 13:03:34

Major X post - I actually started writing this post when there were only a couple of replies but got distracted by work and just found it and posted now blush

purplebaubles Mon 16-Dec-13 13:06:09

She is BU.

However, I think you are going to just have to get used to the fact that she will probably spend her life correcting incorrect spelling! She may well find it easier when she's older to just drop one of them.

Fuzzymum1 Mon 16-Dec-13 13:06:20

As a TA with three children in the class with double barreled surnames (two names to learn as two are siblings) I would say it's a non-issue for us. Something as personal as a name whether it's like a friend of mine with a 3 letter first name and a 4 letter surname with no middle name, or it's a child called something like "Esmerelda-Bella Billington-Blythe" then the school staff should make an effort to get it right.

Tiggles Mon 16-Dec-13 15:18:56

Name changed for anonymity!
I don't think this is surname specific.
DS1 is called Joseph. School taught him to write his name Jo. I didn't object too much to them abbreviating it, although we don't at home. I did object to Jo rather than Joe. After a couple of years of gentle complaints I wrote as a reply on his 'report' that they had the wrong child... as mine was Joe. He is now sorted.
But DS2 (reception) is called Isaac. Not sure if it is a teacher or a TA who is convinced his name is Issac. DS knows how to spell his name, but it is wrong when someone else labels his work to go on the wall. Now it is wrong on the Christmas card list...

rabbitstew Mon 16-Dec-13 15:34:19

Ask the teacher whether she would shorten, eg, a Polish surname, because it's too hard for her to learn how to spell, or whether she would consider that a bit racist? grin

redskyatnight Mon 16-Dec-13 15:47:12

My surname was constantly misspelt when I was a child. It had 4 letters in. So I don't think it's the length and double barrelledness that's the issue - more it's unusual and teacher has a mental block about it. And unfortunately with mental blocks however much you point the mistake out it's hard to get round them. Teacher should have apologised though. (My DD was called Sophie about half the time through year 1. Her name is not Sophie or anything like it, but for some reason the teacher thought she looked like one despite DD correcting her every single time).

noramum Mon 16-Dec-13 15:51:38

DD has a classmate who is French. The girl has a long complicated first name and a double barreled surname. OK, she is known by her nickname but on all paperwork I saw it was spelt correctly.

I think it is laziness not to check the correct writing of a name.

stickygotstuck Mon 16-Dec-13 16:05:55

Thank your for all the replies. I see there is unanimity about it, and I am especially glad to hear Fuzzymum's opinion as a TA.

I do realise that DD may or may not decide to drop one of her surnames when she grows up for an easier life, but that has to be her decision, not some random teacher's.

My own surname is also double, in two parts like 'Hannah', no hyphen. I have added one to avoid confusion of 1st surname/middle name. Personally I don't mind too much if the milkman or the delivery driver gets it wrong, but for official things such as medical records, school records and bank records, I think it's crucial that you have the right name. I had to give up trying to open a bank account once because not a single utility company had my name down exactly as in my passport. I found an alternative bank with a less anal view of things, but I thought insisting on getting things right now was making life easy for DD in the long run.

As for DD spelling it, she can spell it correctly, and she was the first one to notice that it was wrong on her book. I was just trying to be subtle to the teacher wink. But having seen the results, I think I'll drop the subtlety the next time!

poshme Mon 16-Dec-13 16:10:32

We have a DB surname & it's very long. Teachers get it right- and they should. (I was a teacher).
With kids who had a name that I found difficult to say- I would ask. And spell it right. My DD once had her first name spelt wrongly by a teacher who was very apologetic. They should apologise & should get it right!

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