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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.

Elibean Wed 15-May-13 17:48:29

Yes, I would agree!

And interestingly, a national survey of what children want most from their teachers touched on exactly this - they want to be greeted, recognized as individuals, etc. Getting someone's name right is a good way to go about fulfilling this, so hmm to a teacher who doesn't take it on board.

mrz Wed 15-May-13 17:53:58

It's sometimes difficult to remember unusual pronunciations especially if you have taught a child with the same name but pronounced differently. I'm sure the teacher is desperately trying to get it right

mrz Wed 15-May-13 17:56:57

Just to throw something into the discussion.

A colleague doing supply in another school had a parent complain that he had been calling her daughter by the wrong name all term (no one had corrected him) ... her name is Le-a ... How would you pronounce it?

ThreeBeeOneGee Wed 15-May-13 17:57:02

How would the teacher feel if everybody consistently mispronounced her name?

mrz Wed 15-May-13 17:58:16

It happens all the time ThreeBeeOneGees ... my pet hate is parents calling me "teacher"

clattypatty Wed 15-May-13 18:01:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AuntieStella Wed 15-May-13 18:05:24

I think rapid name/face recall is a skill most teachers have (that I don't, so envy). In the first week or so of a new school year, there might be some slips (especially of there are variant pronunciations or unfamiliar spellings) but I'd be unimpressed it it went on for longer.

(I'm assuming Le-a is the perennial urban myth Ledasha)

mrz Wed 15-May-13 18:05:31

My colleague was saying Lee-ah

mrz Wed 15-May-13 18:09:05

Yes but apparently not a myth AuntieStella

I've called children by the name of older siblings I've also taught occasionally it slips out but I always apologise

deleted203 Wed 15-May-13 18:10:48

I think it's rude to not know/mispronounce children's names, personally. It gives the message that you are not interested in them as a person.

As a teacher, if I teach a class for an hour I know every kid's name by the end of it. I am constantly amazed by some of my colleagues who can't remember pupils' names and excuse this by saying, 'Oh I only teach that class once a week'.

I do use seating plans and have a note in front of me so I can call pupils personally by name for first few lessons, just as a reminder. From a teacher's point of view it is far more effective to be able to say, 'Jodie! I need you facing the front' rather than calling out, 'You - no, you...the girl behind you...etc'.

LadyIsabellaWrotham Wed 15-May-13 18:12:55

It's a notorious US urban myth with racist overtones mrz, so I'd call your colleague to prove it or stop repeating it.

Though with sixty million people in the UK, it's not impossible for somebody to hear the story, miss the point, and think "oh that's a clever name, I'll call DD that".

PrincessScrumpy Wed 15-May-13 18:15:56

Goodness I regularly call my own children wrong names (each other's not just random ones), but I would expect their teacher to get them right most of the time... Supply is a bit different though. If the teaching was up to scratch I wouldn't stress too much. When dc grow up they'll remember that daft trace who got all their names wrong.

cece Wed 15-May-13 18:21:05

I try very hard to call them the right name but when there is more than one way of saying a name then I sometimes get it wrong at the beginning (and occasionally later on in the year) but I always apologise when I realise!

For instance one year I had a Mia (said My-a). The following year I had a Mia ( said Me-a). After each holiday I had to remind myself which pronouciation I was supposed to be using.

Likewise my DD has a name with two pronouciations. There are a few teachers who have used the 'wrong' one all year, despite being told repeatedly that it is the other pronouciation. One teacher even added an accent to her name and just carried on with the other pronouciation! shock

mrz Wed 15-May-13 18:24:24

PrincessScrumpy my daughter gets very upset when I call her by her brother's name but even more upset when I call her by the dog's name confused

LadyIsabellaWrotham well the child in question exists and there are no racial issues

Talkinpeace Wed 15-May-13 18:25:47

DD has an unusual name.
She tells teachers how to pronounce it or to use her nickname
it is NOT acceptable for staff teachers to still get it wrong after a term.

LadyIsabellaWrotham Wed 15-May-13 18:28:27

Well if you've actually met the unfortunate child in person mrz then it just goes to show that some people will think anything is a good idea then.

When Footballers' Wives invented Chardonnay as a hilarious fake WAG style name, not only did a bunch of people think it was a brilliant idea and christen their DDs Chardonnay that year, a few ddecuded to go for Chardonay.

NotTreadingGrapes Wed 15-May-13 18:31:52

What's a racist urban myth? confused

mrz Wed 15-May-13 18:32:24

I've seen her exercise book with her name on the cover

insanityscratching Wed 15-May-13 18:35:36

Dd was very upset in year one when her teacher kept calling her by the wrong name (she has ASD so it was a big deal) Her teacher was very offended when I mentioned it for some reason hmm It was odd because her name is top five and the name she called dd wasn't a popular name and it wasn't a child in her class. I had to mention it three times over the course of a term before she remembered her name.

TheHerringScreams Wed 15-May-13 18:36:06

Yes, it can be important. But DD2's school which contains such delights as Sahiththiyah and Shahithiya (said the same way- suh-hit-fee-yah), Hiruni (heer-too-nee, not hir-oo-nee as it's often said), Bozena (Bojena) and Mathusa and Kahwal (khovel) most people seem to accept it and move on hmm Some still get the comparatively simple names wrong, but it gets made into a joke. DD2 has a Russian name and it gets mispronounced sometimes (I think the teachers hate the school hmm) but she seems to laugh about it. Although I'd prefer them to get it right, if you name a child an unusual name, and you don't see a teacher often, then SOMETIMES you have to accept and move on because eventually the teacher should get it. It's been a year and a few teachers say her name wrong, but tbh, it's better than Shahalia, everyone says it as it's spelt, when it's actually said shaalia. However, as long as the teaching is good and the teacher mispronouncing it is trying t pronounce it right (DD's name needs a certain sound which can be hard to only English speakers) and apologise, then I don't think it matters, as long as otherwise you are fine and you show that you are at least attempting it.

AuntieStella Wed 15-May-13 18:38:20


If you have bang-on proof of a Le-a, you should get on to Snopes because they've been commenting on this myth that emerged 2008.

mrz Wed 15-May-13 18:41:22

I'll tell my colleague to get evidence when/if he is asked back to do supply AuntieStella

nametakenagain Wed 15-May-13 18:51:43

My English teacher pronounced my name wrong for 4 years. Finally she said, "well, there's no point trying to change me now, is there?"

Elibean Wed 15-May-13 20:15:59

Occasional slips, followed by apologies, or tricky names that take a while to get right, or start of term and a new intake - all acceptable.

Ongoing error, uncorrected - not acceptable.

I'm sure the teacher isn't doing it on purpose, but if it's pointed out and someone has thought to tell her the kids are getting upset, she should really do something about it!

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