found out: "We have a fuckwit young teacher (well, not much younger than me actually) who wants to be cool and matey with the kids," she writes.
"You always hear `Mr Hughes* lets usdoes thatdoesn't mind', etc. This teacher also dishes out dinner passes so kids can get an early dinner - for no reason other than the kids ask for them. I've had kids ask me for them `because Mr Hughes gives them out'."
Not only do these teachers risk jeopardising their career if a casual relationship with a pupil gets out of hand, but they also damage the whole-school behaviour management policies that are the building blocks of most successful schools, says Anna Parker*, who is in her NQT year.
"Other teachers seem to want to be cool and don't give the consequences as stated in the school rules," she says. "Too many teachers want to be popular or just take the less confrontational approach of pretending not to see rule-breaking stuff."
Her school has a policy of dishing out after-school detentions for pupils who forget books, pens or anything they need for their lessons. But when pupils turn up without their stationary and she gives the prescribed punishment, "they rip into me with verbal abuse - `you are pathetic' and much worse," she says. "I am hated and `too strict' because I use the system as it is meant to be used."
Teachers wanting to seem cool is one of the reasons that behaviour consultant Nicola Morgan is called into schools to help. "I was at a school in Somerset last week where a kid was caught doing rude gestures on Skype," she says. "Rather than deal with it, the teacher just let the kid carry on using the equipment."
Although popularity contests and being cool might be considered more of a concern in secondary schools, much of Ms Morgan's work is in primary schools where this is still an issue. "There are teachers (in primaries) who don't stick to the rules in forming relationships with pupils. They try to dilute problems by not being strict, but it never works long term," she says.
Attitudes to mobile phones can be another problem. The phones, which need to be almost surgically removed from some children's hands, have caused some of the biggest issues for teachers in recent years. As a result, the Government wants to add mobile phones to the list of items staff can search for without consent. NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates even branded mobile phones as "offensive weapons" last year.
At Ms Parker's school, teachers are supposed to confiscate pupils' phones, "but I appear to be one of the few teachers who actually has the balls to do this," she says. "The number of teachers who seem happy to just walk past whole groups of KS4 kids on phones is beyond a joke. I have even seen staff walk up to kids and compliment them on their new phone, have a look at it and hand it back to them."
Ms Parker's views will strike a chord with many: few teachers would argue that teachers should not adhere to universal standards, believing it to be common sense. Even fewer would let their relationship with a pupil become inappropriate.
However, sometimes the popular teachers who make their colleagues' jobs a nightmare are not attempting to be cool or forge inappropriate relationships with pupils, but rather are just rebellious and reluctant to toe the line.
A music teacher may argue that it makes no difference if pupils express their creativity through hair-dye and piercings. It might mean that the French teacher seems uptight for cracking down on it, but one person's insubordination is another's individuality.
The standardisation of teaching and behaviour policies means teaching is arguably more professionalised than ever, but it also puts a shackle on personality in the classroom, says Conrad Watts, a modestly self-confessed cool teacher at a Surrey secondary school. He always has a good relationship with pupils and, although they denigrate his choice of ties and guitar playing, he says they appreciate the laid-back attitude.
Unsurprisingly, the same cannot be said of his colleagues. "Everybody toes the same line and teachers bitch like crazy if anyone steps outside that," says Mr Watts. "But trying to homogenise so many different people with different personalities, lifestyles and ways of doing things will lead to failure. As much as I can, I do things my own way and kids respect that."
Wanting to get on well with pupils is no bad thing in principle. For many of the teachers perceived to be cool, this is what drives their tactics, but the lure of popularity compromises good teaching.
"If you are faced with challenging behaviour in the classroom and you have got a few characters, then these teachers are more likely to try a befriending technique," says Ms Morgan.
But being firm and consistent comes first: "Unless you can handle behaviour management, you can't go on to the fun side of teaching and education," she says.
Teachers want to be loved as much as anybody else, and if you are working in a school the temptation to narrow the gap with your pupils can be overwhelming. But while laying down boundaries may make you unpopular in the short-term, it could prove the safer long-term option.
*Names have been changed
WHAT TEACHERS REALLY THINK OF THEIR `POPULAR' COLLEAGUES
"I did a little survey among the kids, asking them to say who their `best' teacher was and why. Imagine my chagrin to find that the `best' teacher in the school was the PE teacher. And why? The boys because, duh, they liked PE and the girls because `she wears lovely clothes'."
"This teacher actually said to me, `I'm not going to stand there like a fascist telling children how to dress when they've given up their time to come to the concert."
"On the student survey, some particularly enlightened individuals wrote that I was childish, treated them like children, couldn't teach and that I should be sacked! My crime? Planning and delivering lessons in which they didn't just sit back, fall asleep and listen to me reading PowerPoints!"
"It's teachers who try to be cool by being friends to the pupils who let the rest of us down - there are no boundaries set. I was over-the-top strict at the start of the year, like every teacher at our school, and the kids love us by the end of the year."
"I believe that many teachers don't challenge because they think (erroneously) that this will make their lives easier. In fact, it is the other way round. Their lives become more difficult as time goes on."
"Some teachers are too weak and just want to be liked. Unfortunately, they aren't respected, and often aren't liked either."