What Did You Call Me? Handling Name Calling

Fat Cow and other insulting names are still heard in the classroom.  This is often because students are mad at each other and don’t know how to express it (some adults haven’t learned this skill yet either).  It’s important not to ignore this behaviour like you may ignore students clucking like chickens.  It’s a good opportunity to teach empathy.

Ask the student if they would like it if someone called them that name and then ask them to apologize.  Often at this point, the main problem will be revealed e.g “But she threw my sock in the toilet ….” etc. Remind the student that it doesn’t matter what the other student did to them, it’s not ok to insult them. Insist they apologize. Then, help the student to express their anger in an appropriate way e.g. “I don’t like when you throw my sock in the toilet – please say you’re sorry”.  You may want to have the offending student clean the sock…

Sometimes the insults are accompanied by swearing or part of a bullying incident or a racial slur. In this case, the students should be sent down to the office as it is part of a bigger problem. Depending on the age the students, I may send them to the office for throwing someone’s sock in the toilet. (You thought I made that one up?)

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