An all-new guide to your typical teacher

18th May 2007 at 01:00
For such a politically correct profession, we do seem to have a prejudice against certain names on the register: Jordan, Ashley, Kyle, Jade, Chelsea... And never trust a name that sounds like a surname, we are told: Taylor, Mitchell, Harrison and the like.

It seems only fair that we now devise a similar list of teachers' names. So here's the start of perhaps the first-ever staffroom name guide. The research is based on a wholly scientific analysis. But remember that all rules have exceptions, many of whom work at my present school.

Let's start with the rise of Ros, or Roz. There were no Rozzes in teaching 20 years ago. Now there are some 5 million. Too pleasantly self-effacing to envisage a headship, Roz takes responsibility for a key learning initiative. Favouring culottes, she gives regular presentations on Inset days. Earnest and well-respected, you wouldn't have her round for a lengthy meal. One day she will join that homeland for all mature Rozzes - the local advisory service.

Rob: male version of Roz. Definitely not to be confused with Bob (see below).

Liz: Roz and Rob's best friend. The school's gifted and talented co-ordinator.

Cat: a younger version of Roz. The number of Cats in the profession is now well over a million and rising.

Paul: is the headteacher. He drives a smart but sensible Peugeot estate. He looks good in dark suits but awful in sports-casual on Inset days.

Phil: will probably be your head of music. An all-round nice guy.

Fi: shares stories of her torrid personal life with her sixth-form English class. The problem has become more acute since emerging also as the staffroom femme fatale. She has had affairs with Mark (see below) and Phil, possibly at the same time.

Mark: young, clean-cut ICT teacher. He wears an impeccably smart suit for no obvious reason and may even pass as a visitor from the Church of Latter Day Saints.

Jan: pleasant, smiling English teacher. Unofficial staff counsellor. A shoulder to cry on, despite her own hellish private life.

Anastasia: the antithesis of Jan. Resentful, smouldering presence with a mysterious past and striking wardrobe. An outspoken and terrifying critic of senior management, but still a brilliant classroom practitioner.

Alan: teaches technology. He has recently made a seasonal shift into white short-sleeve shirts, still with tie (a dubious move).

Chris (male or female): a bright, dependable deputy head.

Chrissy: several galaxies away from Chris. Permanently animated. Has famously savaged Bob (below) when he refused to sponsor her latest 10k charity run.

Debbie: will be a pastoral head and leading figure in the staffroom salad 'n' cereal bar lunch circle. Slightly irritating.

Bob: infuriating, opinionated, slightly misogynist, soon-to-retire science teacher.

We could go on, of course. So is this all prejudiced, stereotypical rubbish? Probably. But don't blame me, blame my name.

Steve: has no idea about anything and offends without even realising.

Definitely not worth having round for a lengthy meal. Is not even on Fi's dinner list.

Stephen Petty is head of humanities at an Oxfordshire comprehensive

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