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Children's names can spell trouble for teachers

Published 10/07/2013

IN the wake of The Apprentice star Katie Hopkins being branded an "insufferable snob" for her attitude on children's names, I would like to say that I have been a secondary school teacher for more than 20 years and there is no doubt in my mind that there are certain names that are associated with challenging behaviour.

If I see a Kyle on the register, I know he is likely (though not definitely) to be a child who presents a less-than-positive attitude.

Is this prejudice? No. Because, of the two dozen boys named Kyle whom I have taught, only one presented anything approaching a positive, co-operative mindset.

The majority were difficult and often overtly insolent.

Other warning signs are common names that do not have the traditional spelling, or children named after what I can only assume to be the place where they were conceived.

Of course, children are predominantly a product of the environment in which they are raised.

It is not a self-fulfilling prophecy that a child with a certain name turns out to be difficult.

Having said that, I was touched recently when a particularly difficult Kyle, now grown up and working in a supermarket, ran up to me when I went to shop there and apologised for his attitude and behaviour, saying he now realises I was just trying to do my job.

In teaching, the rewards are not always immediate.


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