HAVING worked in primary and secondary schools for years, I have seen it all.
It doesn’t take me long to figure out what type of child we are dealing with when they enter the school gates on the first day of term . . . or what type of parent.
And word quickly gets around. The staffroom is a hotbed of gossip.
We talk about our favourites, the kids we dread and the parents we can’t stand.
If you want to make a good impression, follow my advice and avoid the things that will instantly give your child – and yourself – a bad name among the faculty.
Our Secret School Receptionist currently works in a primary school in Yorkshire.
IT’S always a warning sign when a kid doesn’t have the correct uniform — secondary school pupils in white trainers or not wearing the correct trousers or skirts, or their tie being the wrong length.
You just know they are going to cause havoc.
Make-up and nail varnish is another big problem. Some kids reckon bans of these don’t apply to them.
And don’t get me started on piercings. So many teens get punctured over the summer, thinking we won’t spot that hole in their nose.
It separates the good pupils from the bad.
NOT DOING HOMEWORK
HOMEWORK is the bugbear of every teacher’s life.
Do you think they want to mark it? No, but they have to.
It is lazy for pupils to not do their homework and we blame the parents for failing to issue guidance at home.
We talk about our favourites, the kids we dread and the parents we can’t stand
Not doing homework also forces hardworking teachers to give up their lunchtimes for detention.
THE DOMINEERING PARENT
THE biggest sign your kid is going to be naughty is . . . YOU.
There is nothing a school worker dreads more than meeting a domineering parent on a getting-to-know-you day. You just know the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
These parents are shouty and throughout the school year will ring up and threaten to “sort things out”.
Whatever the problem might be — bullying, bad marks, lunchboxes — they will be on the phone abusing school staff.
If they verbally assault us, we put the phone down. If they come into school, the senior leadership team are dispatched.
They are the worst type of parents, closely followed by the “my child can do no wrong” type and, then, the uninterested ones.
If you want to make a good impression, follow my advice and avoid the things that will instantly give your child a bad name among the faculty
These parents don’t respond to emails, ignore phone calls and never attend parents’ evening.
Without the support of a parent, any child will struggle.
PUPILS who backchat to the teacher automatically get a secret black mark next to their name — and yes, they are gossiped about in the staff room.
“Oh God, I’ve had so-and-so today,” is said.
And believe me, you don’t ever want to hear your child’s name spoken in that context.
TURNING UP LATE
SOME children repeatedly turn up as late as 10.30am, long after the first bell has rung.
For teens who are still doing this in years ten and 11, this tardiness really worries me.
Some will be getting a job soon — and how will they fare then?
Their boss won’t be impressed when they bowl into the workplace so late every day.
Neither are their teachers.
PHONES IN CLASS
MOBILE phones have become the biggest annoyance for every teacher.
“But my child needs his iPhone,” we are told daily.
Nonsense. I managed without one at school and so can they.
It’s the children “secretly” WhatsApping in class that really indicates who is bad.
It is fine for a child to have a mobile in their bag in case of emergencies.
Mobile phones have become the biggest annoyance for every teacher
But it should stay inside the bag or a locker all day and not be used to share memes and the like.
SMIRKING AT STAFF
MOST kids are really nervous on their first day at school but even from reception, there are those who aren’t. Instead they have that sly little smile.
It is terrible to admit it.
They are only five but when you spot a bad one in the playground, bearing a little smirk on the first day of term, your heart sinks.
The lovely ones smile. You are charmed and can tell it is genuine.
But the ones who are going to cause problems? Well, you can see the chaos in their eyes.
HAVING A 'BAD' NAME
OF course, the child is not to blame for this.
But every staffer will subconsciously stereotype children with certain names based on their previous experience.
There are some that fill me with dread. I have encountered too many naughty Rubys to ever trust one again.
Every Cayden I’ve met hasn’t cared about school, while Charlies have always been quite able but hate being told what to do.
Olivias have been determined and brash, while Katies have been quiet but manipulative.
A 'UNIQUE' SPELLING
IT’S a bit controversial but while I understand that an unusual spelling of a popular name is probably given with good intentions, parents should bear in mind that no one — including said child — can spell it.
And while you think it is unique, the school staff are probably laughing about it.
Think to the future. Who wants to employ a bank manager with an utterly ludicrous name.
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