Is that you, hen?

18th May 2001 at 01:00
Glasgow's four-page memorandum on how to respond to telephone callers has caused much amusement in staffrooms and school offices.

The direction to answer calls in a positive and polite manner and speak clearly, "without mumbling", prompted one secondary teacher to moan: "It is a sad day when they are not employing people who already have these skills."

The stipulation that a phone should be answered "certainly within five rings" rang a wrong number with the office staff in one primary school. "How do you do this with the heidie screaming down your ear for information, a child bleeding all over the plac, the entry buzzer buzzing and someone impatiently knocking on the office door?" Answers to the central switchboard supervisor on 0141-287-7008.

The guidelines proscribe the use of slang and "derogatory or patronising terms such as 'mate', 'dear', 'pet' or 'love'." But strangely there is no mention of another traditional Glasgow term of endearment.

So it is ok then for female callers to Ken Corsar, the education heid bummer, to be welcomed by a cheery: "Good morning, education department. How can I help you hen?" In the case of male callers, that greeting would, of course, change to "Jimmy".

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now