Monday, February 10, 2014

What's In A Name?

There are five Siones at my school. I have come to understand that this is essentially the Tongan version of "John."  This understanding does not make it easier to distinguish in a crowd setting, such as a crowded playground at lunch time. We used to have the same issue with "Jose," but some of those have matriculated or moved away. Using my Great Big Teacher Voice from across the yard, I sometimes manage to get the attention of both of the Joses we have left, but that's an easy enough matter to sort out.
Then there's the matter of Alicia. We have three of them. To be more precise, we have two Alicias, and one Alesha. One of the Alicias is phonetically "uh-lee-see-ya." The other two are "uh-leash-uh." Not an issue unless we are in a crowd situation and it becomes a primary concern that I separate one from the rest. Since they tend to flock together, this becomes less of an issue. The real challenge comes when I am in the midst of a lesson and my mind is not on my seating chart when a hand is raised or someone cries out, "Mister Caven?"
"Yes uh-leash-uh?"
Perturbed pause, "Uh-lee-see-ya."
"Right, sorry. Uh-lee-see-ya." Hails of derisive laughter from my fifth grade audience. Moments later we return to the issue at hand, after having discerned the proper pronunciation for all to hear.
Then there's the matter of Angels. There are three currently at our school. Two boys and one girl. I don't have much trouble distinguishing them, but the irony of their name as a descriptor is the part that sticks with me. Very little, short of sprouting wings and donning a halo would bring these children more in line with their moniker. I always feel a twinge as I write referrals that include the phrase "Angel was having a problem working and playing with others today."
I try not to make it any more confusing by signing them "Mister Cabin."

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