Kids mimicking my accent?

Discussion in 'Substitute Teachers' started by thesub, Nov 17, 2009.

  1. thesub

    thesub Comrade

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    Nov 17, 2009

    I am originally from India and despite my accent, everyone understands me and I am on preferred lists etc. I also get mistaken for being Hispanic (like Currentsubber) and kids start saying,'hola hasta la vista" etc and I have to correct them that I am not Hispanic.


    What bothers me is this; why do the kids feel the need to speak Spanish or even just speak with an accent when I am in the class?
    This happened from first grade to 7th grade levels. I try to ignore it and just say,"I know....I know...I have an accent" and roll my eyes. One time I got really angry and burst out,"do you know how rude you are" to a 3rd grader.

    What is a good, snappy retort without offending the kids??? Is there a way to prevent this from happening??

    Thanks so much for any ideas,
    thesub
     
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  3. blindteacher

    blindteacher Cohort

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    Nov 18, 2009

    thesub, I don't mean this as an excuse but rather as an explanation. Your students might be imitating your accent because they find it to be new and interesting or are just curious about it. I remember when I was in elementary school once I was absolutely fascinated with one of my teacher's accents and I would imitate it out of said fascination. I meant nothing rude by it and I'm sure your students don't either. If I were you I would explain that you understand they mean well but that it is rude to imitate the way other people talk and explain why.

    If you think your students are purposefully making fun of it to upset you, then of course that's another story. If they continue after you've asked them to stop, then I would take the same steps you do whenever your students do something else inappropriate.
     
  4. myownwoman

    myownwoman Habitué

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    Nov 18, 2009

    You can pull that student aside privately to tell him/her about how inappropriate it is. Tell him/her that it bothers you and give him/her a scenario about how he/she will feel when someone else makes fun of them. If the student continues you can write down the student's name in a report to the teacher. Let the teacher deal with this, as he/she might have more force in disciplining this student; as the student will be more apt to listen to.
     
  5. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Nov 18, 2009

    I think they are just plain rude.
     
  6. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Nov 18, 2009

    Ups, I agree with you for the older ones, but for the little ones, I have to agree with BT. In both cases; however, I think a lesson in manners is appropriate.
     
  7. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Nov 18, 2009

    That's pretty cold & rude that the kids do that & if they were raised w/ any common sense or manners, they would know that imitating someone is not nice. Being interested in someone (or something) does NOT equate imitating or mimicking them.

    I honestly don't know what kind of witty reply you could say that would make them really think about what they're doing. I know we're not supposed to be sarcastic w/ kids, but sometimes, they need a little dose of it.

    You could teach the class a tiny lesson about it by giving a couple of scenarios & briefly discussing why it's not nice to imitate them. For example, if someone has a limp & walks differently.

    At the end, say how boring the world would be if everyone looked, sounded the same, etc.
     
  8. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Nov 19, 2009

    Something I've learned is to start out with a sense of humor. Give the kids the benefit of the doubt before jumping to the conclusion that they are insulting you. Remember that many of these kids and their parents have accents when they speak English, too. Sometimes if you laugh about it, it takes the fun away from the teasing. Or, you can say something disarming, about how you've worked hard to eliminate your accent, but sometimes it's still heavy ... tell them let you know if they don't understand something you've said. Just be sincere, they actually might relate to this because English it their second language, too. Sincerity and humor can do a lot to diffuse teasing.

    Sometimes I get teased about the way I say something because I'm often overly expressive with my voice. When I hear a student mimic me, I'll make fun of myself. Usually, the student is first embarrassed that I heard them - then happy that I laugh with them. Same thing with age comments.

    Just got an idea - when they mimic your accent - answer back with a short expressive speech in Hindi. Then, explain what you said, perhaps you just described the city where you were born. They might actually find it interesting.

    There will always be those few humorless, emotionally scarred kids who don't want to laugh with you or get to know you. And sometimes they have a few followers in class. But most kids are not hard-hearted - even the followers of the mean kids.

    I've also found - especially in middle school - that some of the tough kids are testing to see if you're going to push back, or ease up. They will sometimes test for half the period before they relax. I leave them alone and stay positive when I do interact with them.. More often than not, they will eventually relax when they see I'm not going to allow them to effect my attitude.
     
  9. IAMdoneSubbing

    IAMdoneSubbing Companion

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    Nov 19, 2009

    I get that too but with the little ones, it's obviously noticeable that they're just imitating as they imitate their parents' American accent. If I have had any yooung one obviously acting rude, like a 5the grader, I must have handled it with "Do you want me to send you to the office?" or something like that. Frankly, I don't think giving a lecture is wise. It'd just make it look like I am bothered and so I don't. In fact, I am not bothered unless one of the older kids acting up to make the class join him. Even then, unless it is plainly obvious, i.e. he/she is blatantly making it so that I'd notice, I just give the attitude no big deal and then squeeze in a line casually like this:" We live in a global age". "If you want to do business these days, you'd better learn to unerstand other people's accent", etc. In fact, if the act is too rude, I'd say squeeze in lines like, "You live in this day and age and act like that, you'd not appear very intelligent to your classmates but be my guest".

    Recently, at a high school - it's a very good one btw (and this is very diverse school district), there were a couple of Af-Am girls giggling that led to laughing at my misprononcing some names during roll call. I simply told them this: At the end of the day, my getting hired doesn't depend on whether I can pronounce your name right or not". It was a test day. In fact, one of them was a bit late and I was nice enough to make sure that she got a chance to copy things from the slide before I take it away as instructed by the lesson plan. It was obvious that she had her mind made up to make fun of me the moment she entered the room and saw a sub. After I finished roll call, one of them, the louder one in fact, asked me whether she could start the test - it was obvious that she was not asking out of sincerity. Everybody was already working on it before I started doing the roll call as I instructed. I just said, "If you have to ask, you have already lost too much time." (I admit that that was my way of putting her in place.) She laughed at that too with a making-fun sound. Not knowing whether they'd completely quiet down or not, I warned them that if they didn't stop, they'd be leaving the room and moments later, I went to talk to the next door teacher to let him know what's happening. In fact, he was in my class at the beginning of the period, watching a bit as the kid arrived. Though I was going to send them only if they started acting up again, he told me to send them. So, I had to tell them that he wanted them to go there. They still didn't have their act together when they left. I don't know what he told them but when I went to his classroom later for something and I had to pass by these two for something, they didn't dare pull any stunt.

    I'd say, don't bother with a lecture and discipline; It's a waste of time since we're not regular teachers. Just be witty about it. In fact, do not even give the demeanor like "I know, I have accent." That's nothing to sound apologizing for. If we're not fit for the job, the district wouldn't have hired us.
     
  10. IAMdoneSubbing

    IAMdoneSubbing Companion

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    Nov 19, 2009

    They are rude in MANY other ways and so this is just one of the rude things they do. It's not bigger than other rude ways they behave.
     

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