Teachers’ pests and the mountain ranger

WHAT’S in a name? An awful lot, it seems, judging from a new survey conducted among teachers.

The message from it is that parents need to be very careful about what they call their children because it could have an affect on them when the youngsters get to school age.

According to researchers, there are certain names which strike fear into the hearts of teachers because they think children bearing these monikers will be the naughtiest in class.

Aaron, Callum, Abbie and Courtney are among them. Others include the highly popular Jack, Adam, Joshua, Aimee, Chloe, Bethany and Alice.

One in five teachers polled reckoned they can tell how their class will behave just by looking at the new class register at the beginning of the school year. If those dreaded names are featured, they think they are in for a difficult time.


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It seems to me a very unfair way of assessing children even before teachers have clapped eyes on them.

Perhaps more believable is the finding in the survey that a third of teachers questioned admitted they often form an opinion on which children will be more difficult when meeting their parents.

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Even more believable is the response when teachers were asked why they think their more troublesome pupils play up in class. Two out of three said they were looking for attention and three out of five believed it’s because they are not disciplined at home. Both these reasons have nothing to do with the names of the children, of course.

Unsurprisingly, it is often the naughty children who have the most friends at school, thought a third of teachers.

There is good news for young people called Aaron, Adam, Abigail and Charlotte – they appear not only on the naughtiest list but also the brightest list and the one for the most popular children at school.

And there is delight for those called Jack, Ben, Emma and Emily – they are the children everyone wants to play with.

Back in my schooldays, the leather satchel which I strapped to the crossbar of my bike contained the essentials of textbooks, exercise books, pens and pencils, ruler, geometry set and dictionary.

I discover from another new survey among parents that the contents of modern bags are much changed.

Less than one in five kids now pack a geometry set and dictionary. Instead, they are likely to include an iPod, iPad, laptop computer, handheld games console, a mobile phone and, increasingly, an electronic reading device such as a Kindle.

The value of the contents is now so high that some parents are insuring the bags.

I know it was breaking the law and people should either walk or take the train (both of which I have done), but I must admit to a sneaking admiration for the man who drove his 4x4 to the top of Mount Snowdon the other day.

He may have got away with it if only his car had not got struck on the descent about 400 yards from the summit and he had to abandon it.

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