I am blessed with the surname Peppercorn and endured years of jokes and comments at school and beyond, yet none has "hampered my career": indeed, when I married, I chose to keep my maiden name as I feel it gives me a sense of identity as a teacher.
Sure, children (and colleagues) joke about it but, depending on the circumstances, I either laugh along or jolly well let them know that what they are saying is unacceptable.
For goodness sake, Ms Barber, get a grip: they are trying to get a rise out of you. Don't give them the satisfaction!
I wonder if I should see as racist the cheery "G'day mate!" remarks I got on my return from working in Australia? No, on reflection I have better things upon which to spend my energy!
Teresa Peppercorn 19 Brecon Avenue Bromsgrove