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Saturday, June 04, 2016


I'm down to last few days of my 14th year subbing and at this point I'm feeling that there isn't much that I haven't

Roll call and name pronunciation is usually the first bit of unintentional humor the class gets to experience with me. Yesterday's 6th grade class was no exception.

If I have the time, I scan the roll sheet before class and try to "guess" pronunciations on the names with unusual spellings.

There is one name listed that I'm pretty sure isn't pronounced as it's written and I know that if I attempt it, it might be insulting or worse so I'm not even going to try.

As I get to that name in the roll, I just stop and look up. One girl in the back is nodding her head and gesturing to continue. In fact, the whole class is intently watching to see how I'm going to pronounce this name.

Instead I ask: "Ok, I know I'm probably wrong on this one so would someone tell me how to pronounce 'I,S,Y,S,S'. I'm pretty sure it isn't pronounced the same as a terrorist group in the nightly news."

They just stare and wait so I plow ahead. "Ok, is ISIS here?"
Nodding girl: "HERE!"

It seems I'm not the first to encounter this delicate dilemma.


francis chege said...

i can relate with what you felt previous experiences in a new school while on teaching practice made me feel the same.

Robyn Dalby-Stockwell said...

In the UK we have the difficulty that the Isis is a river in Oxfordshire.

CMH said...

I can relate to this. Every year the names get more and more complicated. Whenever I go to a different school to sub, I have to read the list of names twice and hope and pray that I don't completely butcher their names. Some of those names are nothing but consonants, I swear!

Anonymous said...

I always pick an attendance helper and discreetly point at the names on the list and ask them how to say them.
I think that's better than pronouncing their name wrong, or drawing the process out in front of the whole class. That could embarrassing for a kid.

Paul Brownsey said...

I predict someone will die because parents have this fad for unusual spellings.

Doctors will be told the hospital has no records for a Michael Robertson and then it will turn out that the fun-loving parents decided to spell his forename "Mykell".

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