Any other teacher speaks with an accent?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by anna9868, Feb 27, 2015.

  1. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    Feb 27, 2015

    I came to US at the age of 16, so I was never able to get rid of my accents (which some people call cute) and I have not been successful at learning to pronounce certain English letters, which are tough for all russians, "th" and "r" (russians roll their hard r). And, as luck would have it, my last name starts with R! :) Before I learned to write down Mrs. R and point to it, in 80% cases no one understood me when I said, "Hi! My name is Mrs. R"

    There are also certain vowel combinations which are tough for me, howe3ver, I haven't yet identified them

    Hence, in many classrooms that I go (I sub at about 5 school districts rarely go to the same classes) many kids have questions about my speech as soon as I say a few words.

    The usual questions are: do you speak spanish? are you from England? do you speak french?

    I usually don't tell kids anything in the beginning, I know it's distracting, first of all, and second of all, I like to see what their level of awareness is. If they don't question me at all, I don't say anything. If they ask one of those questions and I say no, and they don't ask anything after that, great, let's move on.

    However, there are certain classes that are more curious and keep asking, then I may explain that I speak russian, I'm from ex Soviet union.

    O, I have a funny story. I was in K for one day this week. It was a typical "white" school, kids I would say are not used to different accents. I was reading books in a small group lesson where I had 1 persistant kid try to straigten out my pronounciation of the name Addie
    I: what's your name?
    girl: Addie
    I: great, Addie, what do you think...
    persistant guy inerrupting: It's not Addie, it's Addie

    I tried to move on 2-3 times but he kept interrupting me and correcting my pronounciation. I got distracted at first and WAS trying to repeat after him, but he was a strict teacher and didn't like my way of pronouncing

    What would you say is a good phrase to use next time when I stumble on such a persistant kid?
     
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  3. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    Feb 27, 2015

    I am originally from the upper Midwest, but moved to a state where many of my students have a fair bit of southern 'twang' to their speech. My first year, I met one of my new students at church before the school year started. Two minutes after meeting me, she asked me how long I thought it would take before I got rid of my accent. I chuckled and told her that I thought she was the one with the accent! :)

    That same student, several months later, raised her hand at the very end of (what I thought had been) a very successful science lesson on plant structures. Her question: "But, what is a root?" A boy blurted out, "She means root, she just says it funny!" (They used the vowel sound in moon, I used the one in wood.)

    When a situation like this does happen, I usually just say something like, "Sometimes people pronounce words a little bit differently."
     
  4. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I have a European accent. Definitely an accent. And I teach English, which is my second language, I always laugh at the irony.

    Interestingly, when I subbed, no one ever made fun of it and it was never an issue. I was always bombarded with a million questions though, because my accent is different, and I'm blonde; most of my students only heard either Mexican accent, or from those who are Asian, and I'm obviously none of them.

    At my current school, I had 2 students who tried to be rude, and say they didn't understand me, how can I teach English, etc. One was really bad. I told him a few times that he is the only person who doesn't understand me (I've been in this country longer than he's been alive) and he sounds pretty ignorant when he keeps saying this, because my English is definitely comprehensible. If I'm good enough to teach English, I'm good enough for him to understand me. Finally I pulled him aside and told him he was being disrespectful and I don't want to hear it. I could criticize him myself, but that's not what we do.
    After that he loved me and never said anything.
    It was just a way to get a reaction from me, but he got one he didn't expect.
     
  5. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    Feb 27, 2015

    Hey Linguist,
    yes, I was thinking of you when I wrote this, I know you are the one with the accent for sure. I know, the irony is here as well. If I can get through all the level of hells, get my cert and then do, what seems the impossible for now and get a job, then I'll be teaching English as a second language.

    Is it ironic? It's double so, considering that when I teach Russian (at home, informally) I often get comments from my friends commenting how can I teach Russian, I don't know it well. (I came after only finishing 7 grades, so I did have to re-teach myself so many things or definitely learn HOW to teach the language that I didn't even finish high school in)


     
  6. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Hi Anna! Another Russian here (Tatiana) :) I was born in the US, but had some ear issues as a child that I think led to a delay in learning how to read and a lisp. I took speech for 6 years in elementary school, but I still have issues with some sounds and slurring of words. So while I don't have an accent, I do know that I have to concentrate a little harder than others when I'm speaking to people.

    When I mess up in class, my students will sometimes laugh but I think that they get that I'm not in the mood to be laughed at about that. I'm also very protective of my students who have lisps with sounds too. But really I have never had an issue with getting a job over it. I know that accents can be difficult, so I would suggest that you keep practicing words and sounds, but I think in my area it wouldn't really be a big deal.
     
  7. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Just be honest and say in your native tongue we don't have the same sounds as in English. Just like how Addie might not be able to pronounce Russian sounds, you can't pronounce all of the English sounds 100%, but you can both understand each other well enough. I teach some Russian words to my students once in awhile (like I will count in Russian) and they will try to mimic me but they can't get it 100% try as they might- I just tell them it's because their mouths are not use to moving like our mouths do.
     
  8. CatfaceMeowmers

    CatfaceMeowmers Companion

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    While I substituted in AR, students often asked me if I spoke French or if I was British. The way I enunciate my words comes from my knowledge of the Japanese language and its unique pronunciation. I think I did pick up a few "British" sounding vowels too, which is probably why they ask. I thought it was funny and would tell me no. I never ever believed I had a "country" accent - because I tried to remove myself from that stereotype...That is...

    Until I moved to NV. I admit it, I say "ya'll." It's just what I've always said. Well, the students think its hilarious and often "make fun" of the way I speak. I brush it off because I think its definitely a culture shock for them.

    But when it gets to the point of constantly mocking me, I had to draw the line. One student today continuously repeated me "Yall quiet down now!" "Yall get back to work!" Ugh....I never knew I sounded so....so....so country.

    Lol, but I find it hilarious at times and like to share my experience in the south.

    But you know, sometimes students can be so ruthless that it's hilarious. As a sub, it's hard because the students act very differently and misbehave more often. I've just learned to brush it off or laugh with them and make fun of myself!
     
  9. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    Privet Tanya! Nice to discover another fellow russian teacher. I don't meet a lot of russians in teaching for some reason (they all went to computer science, I guess :) You know, come to think of it, I rarely meet ANY immigrants (chinese, indians, etc) who are teaching beyond preschool. But maybe it's the place we live in. I'm sure somewhere in NY there are plenty

    Wow, you have it double hard, accent plus speech problems!


    Well, I guess because you are a science teacher.

    I'm planning to become an ESL teacher. I've never gone to the ESL teaching interview before, to any teaching interview in public schools, for that matter!

    Who knows, maybe when you have ESL interview they test you out on your pronounciation, if you can hear and immitate all the sounds
     
  10. 3Sons

    3Sons Connoisseur

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    I think it's great that some teachers have accents -- it exposes the kids to the different ways people speak and gets them used to the idea of seeing them as real people.I've met far to many adults who have a great c deal of trouble understanding even slight accents, which kids frustrating for all involved.
     
  11. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    I think how well kids in school understand us also depends a lot on the diversity of that school. The example above that I gave you took place in a predominantly-all-american class, not many kids from other cultures who speak with an accent, most teachers are american.

    Now that I think about it, when I sub in my kids' charter school, where americans are about half, another half are kids from all over the world, including teachers, I don't recall kids EVER asking me if I speak spanish, if I'm from England, etc. They are so used to the acdent there, it's not a big deal to them
     
  12. 3Sons

    3Sons Connoisseur

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  13. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    We had one substitute in middle school and high school who had an accent (sort of British and Indian since she grew up in a few different countries, which she explained to us). I used to love having her as a sub. I thought she spoke with a beautiful accent and if we didn't understand her she kindly repeated herself slowly. Honestly, she was the most loved sub for at least 20 years.
     
  14. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    She subbed for 20 years??
     
  15. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Yes, that was her choice. She didn't want to be a permanent classroom teacher but wanted to work with kids!
     
  16. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Connoisseur

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    My first day of college I walked into my math class a class I struggle with anyway and my professor has a Peruvian accent. I thought I would never learn a thing from him, but it turned out he was a great teacher and I loved him so much I took other math classes from him.
    My youngest daughter is taking choir this year so she thinks she needs to teach me to sing. Yesterday she told me I need to stop singing with my accent. I tried I can't. So much for my singing career.
     
  17. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    that is sooo funny! Let me guess, is your daughter somehwhere around 6-8 years old? Both of my kids went through a stage of mom-correction, they quickly gave it up, now only correct occasionally.

    what accent do you speak with, if you don't mind me asking?
     
  18. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Connoisseur

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    No she is 11 and a great singer so choir is her passion. But now she is getting her technique down. Accent ? I don't think have one. Lol but since I was born and raised in Texas probably pretty southern.
     
  19. UditGanguly

    UditGanguly Rookie

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    Teachers speaks normally, they don't use any accent. Only few people use accent while speaking English, but we have upgrade our-self though we can speak English with an accent. Nowadays in school teachers started to use accent English, so that students can do better in future.
     
  20. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    One of my favorite teachers of all time was from Nigeria. He had a big accent. He was great and loved to teach. His accent caught our attention and no one was the worse for it. I would really enjoy seeing him again and telling him what a big impact he had on my life.
     
  21. CTSpaEngTeach

    CTSpaEngTeach Rookie

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    Actually, everybody has an "accent." Even the so-called (and for linguists, quite problematic) American Standard English is basically another "accent" or dialectal variant of English, which is an abstract concept. Speaking English with cadences and intonations that belie non-American nationality is not "speaking abnormally." It's important that, as teachers, we understand that.
     
  22. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    :yeahthat:
     
  23. teacherguy111

    teacherguy111 Cohort

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    I have an English accent. Seems to fade a little bit over the school year but when I go back to England over the summer… and I get made fun of for being a 'yank' lol
     
  24. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    ha, you get the best of both worlds, I see!
     
  25. teacherguy111

    teacherguy111 Cohort

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    Yeah I go back to England most of the summer! Great time as I do not have to work and just enjoy my time there.
     

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