how do I handle student disrespect just because I have an accent?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by thesub, Mar 9, 2016.

  1. thesub

    thesub Comrade

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2008
    Messages:
    462
    Likes Received:
    7

    Mar 9, 2016

    I am originally from India but have lived here in USA for 25 years. I still do have an accent.
    I am a p/t elem. aide in a very good district. Yet kids speak in Spanish when they see me or just speak in an exaggerated way when I interact with them. I try to be good-humored with this and remind them gently that people have accents and it is not nice to copy their way of speaking. Yet this copying happens on and off and I don't want to tell the teacher to handle it. What else can I tell the students so that they stop?
    It is very annoying because they don't copy the way their other teachers speak.

    Thanks so much,
    thesub
     
  2.  
  3. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Messages:
    4,960
    Likes Received:
    1,150

    Mar 9, 2016

    I have never been good-humored if people / students tried to make fun of my accent. It's almost like making fun of someone because they're in a wheelchair, or look "different", etc. No, having an accent is not a disability, but you know what I mean.
    Mocking it is mean, intolerant (next step is being a racist) and is ignorant. I always corrected students. Didn't really happen a lot, (some tried but I cut it off right away) there was really only one kid trying to say that he didn't understand anything I say and how can I teach English if I'm not even speaking English in the classroom.
    I've been here for 24 years (from Europe) and still have an accent.
    I would straight forward let the student know that is being mean to make fun of someone, and it's like picking on someone, or even bullying. On top of that, an accent actually shows that the person speaks at least 2 languages, so they should admire that, not make fun of it.

    You posted this in the elementary forum, so if you are dealing with younger kids, maybe tone down the explanation a bit (I teach high school) but I would be very serious about it. When I first moved here, people (so-called friends) made fun of me and I was good-humored about it and later on when I looked back I was mad for not standing up for myself. I guess I'm scarred for life, so I do get very serious about this.
     
  4. thesub

    thesub Comrade

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2008
    Messages:
    462
    Likes Received:
    7

    Mar 10, 2016

    Linguist92021: Thank you so much. You made a great point about reminding them that an accent means we know more than one language. I will practise being firm and tone down my nice ways, I guess. Thanks again.


     
  5. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2010
    Messages:
    1,565
    Likes Received:
    744

    Mar 11, 2016

    I would also try to put them in your shoes a bit by asking them how they would feel if someone made fun of how they talk. In reality, some of these kids may have been made fun of for having an accent themselves, so in the way of bullies, they are passing on the the hurt and trying to make themselves feel better by putting you down. I took this tactic when I had minority students using slurs against other minorities (racial, sexual orientation, disability, etc). I said to them, "How do you feel when someone uses a slur to put down your ethnicity?" Some of them tried to play it off like it was funny, but I did notice an improvement over time.
     
  6. thesub

    thesub Comrade

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2008
    Messages:
    462
    Likes Received:
    7

    Mar 12, 2016

    Thank you Ms. Irene. I will try your approach too,
    thesub
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

Total: 332 (members: 0, guests: 303, robots: 29)
test