From the forums - 'Thickos and numpties'

11th October 2013 at 01:00

You know the casual staffroom remark: you're frustrated by the ignorance of a child and you berate the "thicko" in their absence. You're just venting, but someone pipes up with, "You can't say that!" What can you still get away with before someone jumps on you for being politically incorrect? Dim? Useless? Challenging? A muppet?

In the public sector, say nothing - not a word. In the private sector, things are much more relaxed.

We sometimes talk about kids "on the spectrum", ie, the NQR (Not Quite Right) spectrum.

Anyone who is a bit dim up here in the North East on Tyneside is a divvy.

I tend to refer to children as "challenging" or say they have "individual personalities". Either that or "there's tweety birds in there".

Ralphs - as in Wiggum from The Simpsons - and glue eaters from the same source.

Our job is to get the most out of our students. It can be stressful and frustrating. But to label them "thickos and numpties" is writing them off. And that's not what teachers should do.

The school I worked in where the most colourful language was used in the staffroom was also the best at dealing with low-ability students. The fact that you could relax and say just what you thought led to a great working environment.

Having moved to New Zealand I've rediscovered some oldies such as "he's such a drop kick". I've taught my students "twazzock" and "eejit".

It's OK to find the kids who don't "get it" frustrating. And it's OK to express that. Because without expressing it, it would be doubly hard to return to that classroom and try all over again.


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