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Schools Now Recognizing Mispronouncing Kids’ Names As Micro-aggression

By: Krystle Crossman

Children can have a hard time in school when they have an uncommon name. The teachers will get up in front of the class to read off the attendance list and stumble over names. Once the name has been mispronounced it will be hard for the teacher and the students to correct it as they have the incorrect pronunciation stuck in their heads even after hearing it said the correct way. Schools are now realizing that mispronouncing a child’s name, whether accidentally or negligently, is a form of micro-aggression that can affect the student’s academic progress.

In 2015 the “My Name, My Identity: A Declaration of Self” campaign was launched. It was started by the National Association for Bilingual Education and the Santa Clara County, California Office of Education. The officials who were part of this campaign stated that when a child’s name was pronounced incorrectly it caused slight anxiety. They can also grow to resent their teachers or whoever is saying their names wrong.

While it may seem like just a name, it is actually a very large part of our identity. Your name displays your heritage. It makes your proud of your family and where you come from. Researchers feel that when someone’s name is mispronounced it is like the person who is saying it wrong is saying that the child’s heritage doesn’t matter. This is especially true if there is no action taken to correct the problem. They may feel like they are not important enough to have their name pronounced correctly and this can give them anxiety. They could develop low self-esteem because their identity is being chipped away little by little.

All over the country there are school districts that are putting policies and procedures into place so that teachers and administrators in the school are sure to pronounce children’s names correctly. If they do not know how to say a name or if they pronounce it the wrong way once they should ask the child how to pronounce it. Jennifer Gonzalez is a former teacher and she states that even if it is not intentional a mispronunciation of the student’s name is a little form of bigotry. She says that what this says to the child is that their heritage and their culture is not important enough and not worth the time to correct the pronunciation.

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88 thoughts on “Schools Now Recognizing Mispronouncing Kids’ Names As Micro-aggression

  1. Illumani Johnson

    I grew up with everyone mispronouncing my name…including my parents. It was not until a few years ago I discovered the correct pronunciation and now I DEMAND people pronounce it correctly and dare them to mispronounce my daughter’s name. Thank you for sharing this article.

    Reply
    • Adjoa Flo

      Daring them to mispronounce yours or your daughter’/ name doesn’t really help the situation though. If you know your name is a challenge how bout teaching your child to have s little patience in getting people to learn it. Dare them to try to give her a nickname of some variation for their convince. Now that, is disrespectful.

      Reply
      • TJ

        If people can learn names like Dostoyevsky they can learn names that are common in cultures of color. Nobody should have to shorten their name for the comfort of others.

        Reply
      • M brown

        Ppl still don’t care. I have customers that do the same. My name is unique but it is not that hard but even when I state it too them repeatedly they still call me by a totally diff name. I can spell it for ppl and they will write down what they want. And yes that just gives u the impression that I really don’t care bcse its not a name like just or Barbara. Im going to call u whatever. Or it is just laziness too. It is especially hard when u have mostly white teachers who are culturally accustomed to very simplistic first names although they may have complex last names. But no one calls anyone these days as Mr and Mrs …. I was just ask the student if they use any other names and if they mind u calling them by that name bcse u are having difficulty w their name. This is better then just hacking up the name day in and out. It comes across as disrespectful. One time I deliberately didn’t correct a teacher for an entire school year bcse I was tired of ppl mispronouncing my name. Kids,would chuckle everyday a roll call when he called my name incorrectly. Finally on the very last day of school the finally ask why they kept laughing and one boy in my class said that is not her name. And he ask me why I nvr corrected him. I didn’t respond bcse as a teacher phonetically u should know how to pronounce my name.

        Reply
    • TAS

      I’m confused – How could your parents mispronounce the name they gave you? I’m not being disrespectful in any way, but seriously confused.

      Reply
      • Ummtalata

        I know how this can happen. People often give their children names from cultures different from their own and decide to pronounce it the wrong way, because they like it this way. When folks who know better hear the name, often times the oparents simply do not care to pronounce properly. Seen it too many times.

        Reply
      • Karen

        I was thinking the exact thing. Now, I have a cousin who is not very literate and she attempted to name her daughter, but spelled it wrong. What varies from Iesha, Ayesha, and so forth was deduced to Isha, and she has everyone pronouncing her name as if it has three syllables. But how can parents who name their child and attempt the spelling, pronounce the name wrong?

        Reply
      • Michelle

        Actually, the first paragraph, of the article specifically says that mispronouncing, whether accidental or intentional, is considered micro-aggression.

        While I understand the importance of getting names right, I also think it is equally important for people to develop patience… and perhaps a thicker skin. I have studied several languages and some “accents” and inflections are difficult to acquire, so when a teacher doesn’t speak the same language as the name, it’s quite possible that she/he may never get the name exactly right. It’s gonna happen. It’s the same as when a Spanish speaker says my name “Mee-CHelle”, it’s just how they say it. So what?

        Reply
        • Michelle Vivanz

          I think it is equally important for people to be respectful enough to ask how to pronounce your name instead of assuming that their way is the correct way to pronounce it. My last name was/is constantly mispronounced as a child and I let it go although it annoyed me. In my youth, I would internalized someone’s else failure as my own for having an unusual last name. Now I am more vocal about the issue.

          Reply
        • Mar

          You totally missed the point. Also…. Are you really telling small children to grow a thicker skin rather than encouraging grown adults to learn how to say their students’ names?????

          REALLY???

          Reply
        • Tzurah Brink

          So this is a hypothetical issue with mainly nameless entities making it out to be important. Sorry but I call utter academic laziness here.

          That poorer learning outcomes have actual pre-identified causes like poverty, a cultural divide like the one that has people lined up to believe this is an issue versus say that minorities are at risk for every kind of horrific outcome.

          In my usual name none of my teachers could say it. I was an immigrant and a product of several improbably combined heritages only one of which overall fate had not dealt blow after blow.

          That being so fast to be hurt over so little is not a luxury children have and no one even asked them if it impacts them this way? Where is the respect in pontificating about imaginary effects.

          Who actually thinks this is one of the largest issues facing a minority child in the US today? Why did no one attempt to find out.

          Let’s see in the current Presidential Race one has made the claim that every Hispanic (or as that is a big word for him let;’s just use his reducing everyone South of the US border to Mexicans. Not a single one of them is by his account not every form of bad. Muslim students who are young enough not to know that nearly all of what he claims to want to do isn’t possible. Overall he’s made less offensive comments about Blacks but that could be a lack of ability to keep track.

          Moving on to the so called good side. They use a fear of him to excuse racism in themselves. Hilary Clinton having made excuses for the school to prison pipeline that sill make every Black American Mother seethe. who worked against improved civil rights in the South while a young Republican. Who made racist comments when Obama stood between her and a position she views as hers and she will buy whom she needs, cheat as much as she wants and he own husband cannot keep form making horrible comments about both blacks and Muslims to the very end of that convention. Not that it isn’t a family value but still that in multiple papers the rush to claim this moderate level of racism and anti-Islamic comments were now okay because Trump is worse. Really? Someone is always worse aren’t they?

          The in the land of the free the least free are minorities who can wind up in an adult for profit prison at a tender age. 98.5 percent of those in prison are there due to non-violent crimes. White faces weirdly hard to find.

          Teenagers rebel against authority as a necessary part of growing up. When that authority loves them and doesn’t see this rebellion as something they should bring on so they can toss them in isolation and have time added on for failure to work a non-rehabilitating job for almost no wages in places with food so poor that will go to keep starvation at bay..

          Do they really have the luxury of this as a problem. Remember that as intentional it is only speculated here. No one had the decency to ask a single student or the tens of thousands of them they could have with a decent methodology what actually matters to them. What makes them feel upset. ashamed? No one bothered to ask.

          That in adulthood with a job maybe maybe, you have the luxury of annoyance but this is an imagined problem with a very easy think to do. So teachers of kids who face real challenges to the self-esteem. even their basic humanity will pledge to say their name right. Based on speculation only. Schools are realizing, it could this, it might that. If a child wrote this for science it would get a well deserved F.

          Doesn’t this seem a band-aid on top of gushing wound to anyone else? Plus the lack of respect it it is to just decide it could be this way and it might cause this and this seems far greater than any accidental mispronunciation.

          What about speech impediments? Those who only ever spoke one language so their hard palette is set in a way where they can only come close? What about the disabled minority child then? I had speech therapy for a horrifically long time. As an immigrant my father (who spoke more than 4 language but had a thick accent so you sit and hear the teacher call him dumb immigrant. ) That anything he could say about my intelligence they didn’t even try to make out what he said. All immigrants were dumb. My father knew better than to ever explode in rage about this as his non-verbal daughter in a place where he had no wealth protect him and society was always reminding my parents they could just put me away in the alarming number of places they had for kids with issues far less serious seeming than mine.

          That this as far easier to do than to actually strive to change the very society that is not improving for minorities. It’s sliding rather too fast in the other direction so anyone who thinks this is something other than a misguided and easy solution as the harder problems seem to have no solution but maybe just maybe they could start with the more fundamental respect of wondering if this is a real issue for the children they make this pledge for.

          Oh even not setting a horrible example of there is no science here at all. You don’t get to pretend things are real and important.

          What about notions that this sense of identity cannot rest in the hands of others. If pride in themselves, their family and heritage hinges on if their name is said correctly? What then. Science has done a lot of research in the bad outcomes if control over something is attributed to someone other than the person. Bad self-esteem, depression, anxiety.

          It’s harder but showing faith in a child, acknowledging their lived reality sucks as to me this is very much and example we don’t actually care about all the larger problems but we will commit to trying to say your name right. Wow bowled over by the epic fail this is on every level.

          DId no one else attend schools where teachers were holed up writing bullying policy while bullies roamed free? You ever try to convince a school the bullying is real and so is the fact that there was not a single adult on the playground despite the fact that several children parked there need one handy including the older sibling of a boy I swung by to see how things were going.

          So why were their kids with breathing and choking issues unattended. Parked far from other kids with no one helping them engage. Why was bullying happening when the school had a sign declaring it bully free for 20 years.

          This is the same kind of this takes no real effort, no real work and hey as a bonus we will give kids facing huge injustice on every level, who don’t need to hear it implied they don’t matter as people flat out say they don’t. These are not children with the luxury of getting worked up about a hypothetical issue.

          People say my walking around name incorrectly all the time. I am poor still, multiply disabled and I work from bed. To have always worked and still be poor seems a bit harsh but that is my life. If someone thinks my riding a horse once a month is useful when sitting period (oh the numbers of people practically lined up to tell me this is available and previous issues of being good with horses didn’t matter now as I could ride. I point out the whole I can’t sit in a chair seems like matters.

          This is a hypothetical problem made much of by people too lazy and full of themselves to tackle the harder problems. No minority child has the luxury of feeling offended by an accidental mistake. That people don’t even know if they do is so offensive my impotent 5 year old self feels the anger of people reaching conclusions about me and my family.

          My father said often that you can be poor but there are things which cannot be bought and the only way you lose them is to give them up. Poor people behaving badly never ends well. Poor minority children …

          Make their educators try at least as hard as ours did. No one from my hometown of the long odds dropped out of the university I went to while I was there. They are teachers and librarians, Development workers and well with a second career in games I am an underachiever.

          This is until proven otherwise an imaginary issue. That people call themselves educators and commit crimes against science and deny the lived reality of the students they educate is worse than 100,000 utterances of any name incorrectly. How will they educate children in ways that make a dent in bigger issues if this is their big solution to a problem they can’t be bothered to research,.

          F for the science. F for the effort and a recommendation they focus their effort in areas where there is room for laziness. Can’t think of any fields off hand but lives are at stake if at the start people suck this much and care so little.

          The students in this area should rise up and demand their actual issues be heard. That they need at least that much effort and respect. If your name being said incorrectly causes you to fail math that is likely an attribution error but if an actual correlation exists than someone spending some time either on improving the math to be so bullet proof that the 100,000 people chanting it badly through a test won’t matter or the more challenging building that kid up to be sure they matter, their culture matters, their family matters and no one defines who they are or what matters to them other than them.

          Reply
      • Kate

        My daughter has a very irish name that is actually from my dad’s family. The name is Aislyn and the Irish pronunciation would be like “Ashling” . Her father loved the spelling but purposely mispronounces her name as “Azlan (with a long A sound) which lead to everyone he talks to about her also pronouncing it incorrectly. I finally caved and just starting saying it the same way to avoid confusion and awkward explanations. I know other people who pick names because get think they like the name, but because not all things sound how they are spelled and other languages have unique pronunciations they end up actually pronouncing their own child’s name wrong.

        Reply
    • TAMERICE ROCHELE

      I myself, & even my parents mispronounced my name for years, but “I dare someone else to mispronounce it?” How ignorant does that sound??? Hmmmm!!! I seriously question some people’s sanity.

      Reply
    • Pichounette

      That’s not the right attitude to have. If people including the very people that gave you the name mispronounce it, what hope is there for the west of us mortals?

      Reply
  2. Tiana gasaway

    It is very demeaning. Especially when the teacher asks if she can call you some variation of your name that’s easier for them. There is some hostility. A child feels less than or unimportant.

    Parents should consider this before gracing a child with these outrageous names.

    Reply
    • Ronaje Johnson

      Parents shouldn’t have to name their child something differently because it may be hard to pronounce it . Teachers should ask for the correct pronunciation first before butchering it. Therefore the correct pronunciation will be stuck in their heads. Teachers are smart so they should act like it

      Reply
      • Susan Rogers

        In my Methods classes I was taught to ask students to take any seat that first day. I was then to start row by row and ask a student to say their name and then I would repeat it.
        .

        Reply
        • Amy Uribe

          As a teacher and methods instructor I like a part of this but not the other. I think it’s great to ask the students to pronounce their names first, but give them an assigned seat already. It can cause a lot of social anxiety and nerves for kids to have to figure out who they know well enough to sit by, etc. Create a space for them to give them the feeling of your classroom being a safe, secure place. Then if you want, go through your routine of the kids modeling their names. If you think kids are being coddled my needing the safe place, consider the number of times we adults walk into a room and have to make quick decisions about where to sit. It’s not always comfortable for adults, so imagine how shy kids or “unpopular” kids feel having to pick a seat.

          Reply
  3. Bernadette

    For years, my name was misprounced but it only caused me to become more aggressive towards gaining academic superiority. ‘What is in a name?’, I heard someone say. I believe our names represent all of our possibilities, But never who we really are!

    Reply
  4. Deidre'

    I don’t think that this as a micro-aggression. I do however; think it is quite challenging when teachers mispronounce students names, but this is where parents teach their children to kindly correct the teacher and correct them again and again if need be. Parents help your children when you know you’ve named them with a unique or hard to pronounce name. I too had teachers mispronounce my name but I always knew my name was strong and I love it so I would just correct teachers because I knew I deserved to have it pronounced correctly. From there teachers got it right. If teachers keep doing it after you’ve corrected them countless times, the teacher is not committing it to memory, doing it on purpose, or some other issue and that’s when it’s time for the parents to address it, but not everything starts off as a micro-agression.

    Reply
    • Deidre

      Mine name is Deidre, too! Same spelling. I agree with your statement. I was always mispronounced growing up first and last name and I’m still mispronounced as an adult. I don’t mind though because I love my name. It is a strong name!

      Reply
  5. Levette

    Happened to my children…a very painful experience…names were from the Bible…it was done on purpose…as I asked the teacher if they understood that the names were phonically correct. Our children are abused…then some college professors get paid to analyze what we already know to be the truth…and expressed and addressed it when it happened…smh.

    Reply
    • KMP

      Abused ? Really ? How about parents abusing their children with names no one else understands ? Or parents pronouncing common names differently then the public does ?

      I doubt any child will take damage from teachers and other people pronouncing their name wrong. LOL Stop putting our children in cotton balls.

      Reply
      • Julie

        Putting our children in cotton balls is a new one.

        Its about respect which you may have settled to live without. It’s not difficult to ask someone to say their name before one “butchers it.” Children need to be shown respect so they respect others.

        Reply
  6. Mac

    Oh my gosh, not everything’s an evil plot. If YOU gave your child a name that might be hard to pronounce, then explain that to your child, and YOU tell them to correct the teacher as many times as needed. I’m sure most teachers aren’t purposely mispronouncing names. And give kids some credit, stop acting like every little thing in their life that isn’t perfect is going to ruin them. They need to learn how to speak up for themselves and let things roll off their backs.

    Reply
    • Mar

      These children’s names aren’t hard or difficult to pronounce, most teachers are just incredibly lazy and flippant about some of their students. If these teachers can pronounce chompsky and kant correctly then they can put some effort into pronouncing their ten year old student’s name correctly.

      Obviously this has never happened to you, so why are you pretending to be an expert on this???

      I honestly have no patience for people who don’t try to pronounce my name correctly. I dealt with nicknames for a long time, but now I just don’t have time to be dealing with lazy people like you. Sorry to burst your bubble, but just because a name is unfamiliar to your sheltered self doesn’t mean it’s a “difficult to pronounce name”. Not everyone is from some white suburb my buddy, deal with it!

      tl;dr: grow a thicker skin and learn how to correctly pronounce children (and adult’s) names correctly.

      Reply
  7. Keyairra

    Omg…..lol my name is Keyairra ….. broke down its KEY…(Key to the door) AIR…(air up there) RA lol people mess it up all the time….does that pisses me off?? No… I named my child with a name that is recognizable..so that those types of situations don’t happen….but is she mad when they say her name wrong??? No she just says it right…. lmao this world is just re damn diculous lmao

    Reply
    • Mitch

      Thank you! Names are very important! This helps those of us who struggle with pronunciation and hearing the nuances of some sounds. I often struggle getting names I am not familiar with correct. Sometimes if the person has an accent, I become overwhelmed and anxious because I want to understand. I want respect them and say their name correctly and fear I won’t!

      Reply
    • Michelle

      Keyairra… either I am just really good at names or other people don’t understand basic “pronunciation rules”. lol I do think it is important to teach kids to not get mad about someone saying it incorrectly… but some people do try to say it wrong (on purpose), or give you a nickname because they don’t want to learn it.

      Reply
      • Jami

        Having dealt with my first name spelled wrong for years, I’ve always taken it with a grain of salt and politely corrected as needed. People make mistakes, I have 560 students in all my classes combine and know just about all of them (still working on the crop of this years new students)I tell them that if I mess up their name that it is not on purpose. I ask them to correct me and I’ll keep working in it until I get it right.

        Reply
    • Terri

      Just looking at your name, I would have called you Kee-yay-ra and you probably would have had to correct me several times. On the other hand, I’m in a country where my name is virtually unpronounceable- so I get all kinds of Perry, Carrie, Teddy, Telly versions

      Reply
  8. Rochelle

    What is outrageous to you could be normal in certain cultures. People should not have to assimilate to make you feel more comfortable. Be more culturally sensitive or rethink you career choice.

    Reply
    • TAMERICE ROCHELE

      No, but people also shouldn’t get offended over EVERY SINGLE THING either. If they don’t want people mispronouncing names, don’t give them some off-the-wall crazy name. Hello…. simple as that! How would you pronounce my name if I didn’t tell you how? I have an off-the-wall crazy name! I expect it to be mispronounced & guess what! I DON’T CARE! Put the word “breakfast” in front of a kindergartner & ask them how to pronounce it. How on earth can anyone be offended by putting something new in front of someone’s face & not having them know immediately what it says? Especially if it’s from another culture! ?! Other cultures pronounce their letters differently than us. GET OVER IT!

      Reply
      • Karen

        I strongly agree. My sons’ name are Keonte’ and DeVonte’. My mother-in-law pronounced the second as DeVonkay until she left here to glory. Did it stifle his growth as a child? No, he just graduated with his Doctorate in Chiropractic. However, there was an instance when a teacher questioned the class, and then directly him to the point of embarrassment for not knowing the answer to a question, since he had the highest aptitude test score the prior year. Later, when she was writing their names on the board, misspelled his name, and overheard him telling a classmate, “she was talking about me, but I have been here almost a year and she still can’t spell my name right,’ she put him out of class! She challenged him on something that he may or may not have been exposed to, but got very aggressive when she failed to meet expectations to become familiar with words/names outside of her culture that she had been exposed to.

        Reply
      • Michelle

        Tamerice… I don’t think the person gets angry the first time the individual sees it ever (at least I hope not). I only think it’s disrespectful when they do it constantly, despite previous correction. I will give it to them the first time, but when you do it again and again, you’re doing that on purpose.

        Reply
        • Carol M.

          uuhhh no. I work with Mary and Marti. They look similar. Marti was first. Mary second. I started calling Mary, Marti by accident. I finally cured myself, but about half the time, I still call Mary, Marti. Am I doing it on purpose? I think not.

          Reply
  9. Mary

    Again, why are the teachers being blamed? Names get mispronounced and teachers DO try to pronounce them! Tired of hearing blame- maybe more understanding.

    Reply
    • Lillian

      I’m a teacher. It’s not that hard, folks. When students enter your classroom for the first time, introduce yourself and ask students to tell you their names. Pay close attention. Ask them to repeat it and let them know that you want to pronounce their name correctly because it’s respectful. Compliment their names as beautiful. Write down any clues you need to help you remember the exact pronunciation. Ask the students to correct you repeatedly if necessary – to please not give up until you really learn it. Then practice – do your homework, say the name again and again between classes. Learn to say it flawlessly within the first few days. This is just basic respect, and that’s a professional responsibility.

      Reply
      • Michelle

        This is exactly what I do. Above their names in my roll book I put the pronunciation so I won’t mess it up. I also tell them that if I say it wrong, don’t let me keep saying your name wrong! Help me say it correctly. I had a kid once who told me that he really didn’t care, because it doesn’t matter. I immediately let him know that “yes, it does matter. It matters to me that I say YOUR name, not some made up version of your name.” I also don’t call students by nicknames unless they specifically ask to be called that. For example, Alexander is not Alex. I have had kids who prefer to be called their full name, and I respect and honor that. I have also had kids tell me “Ms. J, you don’t have to call me by my full government name, you can call me….” I do this because children deserve our respect no matter what we think of their names.

        Reply
  10. Lisa

    This is a little absurd. My last name was pronounced incorrectly my entire life and is still today, by my students, colleagues and admins. I correct them time and time again but it does not affect me in any way other than becoming somewhat annoying after the 50th time. I have come across some VERY unique names as a teacher. Even common names are sometimes pronounced differently. I do try my best but to be perfectly honest with having to learn 100 names every September, it usually takes a couple of weeks. Teachers DO NOT intentionally mispronounce names.

    Reply
    • Lillian

      It’s not okay to hide behind what your intention might or might not be. You are responsible for the impact of what you do, regardless of the fact that you were just careless rather than malicious

      Reply
  11. Tamara

    It’s common courtesy to ask someone how to pronounce their name. It’s not hard to not be an ass. People aren’t born to conform to you.

    Reply
  12. Jaime Desormeaux

    Some kids get impatient when you ask them to repeat their name or pronounce it. They catch an attitude if you don’t get it the first time. That’s why teachers may ask for an easier version. I have to model patience with my own name because many kids don’t want to take the time to pronounce it for the teacher. This is where the deficit is revealed from home. Parents who name their kids with uncommon names need to also teach them about how to teach others how to say their name, with patience and perspective.

    Reply
  13. Zetha

    I was always asked “so um what do they call you” after I would say my name is Zetha. My response was always “Zetha” , thinking you dumb eff..this happened all of my school career!- new friends and people who liked me learned quickly or would ask and ask until they got it. People who didn’t care about me couldn’t get it. Just never did. ! Names matter. If I have to constantly remind you of how to say my name. If u don’t get it I’m supposed to keep teaching you? Get out of here. There are times it may be a honest mistake and you can tell. The behavior changes.

    Reply
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  15. Brenda Thornton

    My daughter and I just had this conversation concerning an African girl in my granddaughters class, instead of the teacher taking the time to pronounce her name correctly she has begun to call her “Sha nay nay” and laugh. My granddaughter was very offended and can’t understand why the teacher is not pronouncing her name the right way!! And my son’s name is Brendan and no one gets his name right people always have to be corrected……

    Reply
  16. Illumani Extinguisher

    Illumani Johnson dares me to mispronounce her crotch fruit’s last name. Challenge accepted. Like, WTF would she really do? LMAO

    I bet she named her kid Shithead, but pronounces it “Shi-theed”

    Reply
  17. Rebecca Shain

    Ok, here’s my story. My name is Rebecca and when meeting someone new I always say, ” My name is Rebecca. I go by that or Becca. Although, I do not respond to Becky. So, when I had instructors or admin call me Becky, I would be insulted. I have always made it a big production upon introduction, since I was old enough to realize that I really didn’t want to become a “Becky”

    Reply
  18. TAMERICE ROCHELE

    Pure ignorance!!! Tamerice Rochele… (Tam-uh-rees) (Ro-shell) Not 1 single soul has EVER pronounced my name correctly until I tell them how! Guess what!?! I have NEVER felt aggression or degraded by it…. not even once! It’s called having some common sense that if you have (or give someone) an uncommon name, it’s GONNA get mispronounced. Have a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T & tell them. & here’s the number 1 thing… GET OVER IT!!! Or as Elsa so eloquently puts it-LET IT GO! Stop trying to teach our children that everyone is against them over everything! That’s where all these ridiculous riots are coming from!

    Reply
    • Karen R.

      Thank you! In my head I read your name first as Tuh-meer-iss. But when you put the correct way to say it then automatically I corrected it in my head and said ok “Tam-uh-rees.” Got it, it’s a beautiful name. Not to mention its embarassing to get someone’s name wrong and nobody would WANT to do it on purpose.

      Reply
      • TAMERICE ROCHELE

        Thank you, & for the record, that’s exactly how 90% of people say it the 1st time they read it. Lol! Except for those who call me tame-rice. 😂 I think it’s hilarious & then just tell them, yeah. I don’t like the wild stuff. Lol!😂😂😂

        Reply
    • Michelle

      I got it right! I was saying “I bet it’s ‘tam-uh-reece’ because of the -ice at the end, most people don’t say ‘iss’ when it’s spelled like that”.

      Reply
  19. Karen R.

    I’m sorry but what the hell…this article is ridiculous. Even my college professor who taught linguistics would sometimes mispronounce a name that is either not a common spelling or has other cultural roots. It’s the same as if you were to run into a new word you didn’t know, you have to LEARN how to say it properly. And some people simply aren’t good with names. I had a teacher who called me Jennifer because I was the same body type and hair color as another student named Jennifer. My name is Karen -_-. Was it annoying? Hell yeah it was, but I knew it wasnt done with malicious intent and blaming teachers for not knowing how to pronounce something unusual is just ridiculous, especially since its just as embarassing for them
    Most teachers (if not all) ask ahead of time for you to simply correct them if they say your name wrong. But yes…let’s turn them into assholes for simply trying to do the best they can.

    Reply
  20. Rusty Shackleford

    It’s not racist to speak in accordance with your native tongue. If, on paper, someone’s name is spelled a way and you pronounce it how it’s spelled, that’s just you speaking how your language says it should be pronounced. So if we’re playing by liberal rules, then should every single foreign person who speaks English in a foreign accent be considered racist? If I had a student named “Marcus” but he pronounces it with a rolled R, and I don’t, is that a microaggression? You know what? If everything is considered racist, then nothing is. This is why SJW’s are starting to be considered a joke

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  21. Sara

    Did anyone ever think that we are human and all make mistakes and we can’t get everyones name right. I teach music and that means I see kids two times a week and teach a total of 325 students. I write down how I will say the kids name beside the attendance but doesn’t mean I will get it right each time. Kids say my name wrong all the time, I correct them and move on. How hard is it? We are becoming too sensitive! Teach your kids to correct their teachers. We can’t know if your kid doesn’t speak up! Plus you would be surprised how many parents misspell the names… The first thing I say to my class is correct me if I am wrong, and keep correcting me because I have a bad memory. Don’t feel bad because I don’t mean to forget. You would be surprised how many kids won’t correct you! Give your child a voice and that will help with the anxiety.

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  22. Rose

    As a person of Spanish descent, but American born, my name is Rose Mary. I don’t use my middle name, I spell it my name Rose, I pronounce it Rose, so tell me, why, when I’ve introduced myself as Rose, does someone immediately reply “Nice to meet you, Rosa”? If I were an old Caucasian lady introducing myself as Rose, no one would “correct” it to Rosa……

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  23. Jody k

    I have simple two syllable rather common name – jody. I used to hate the first day of school because the teachers would call me “judy.”

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  24. Patience

    It’s not saying that it’s a micro-aggression if you are TRYING to learn how to say it and ASKING the student how to pronounce it—that’s what everyone should be doing anyway and that’s not what a micro-aggression is. Of course when you first meet someone you won’t know how to say their name until they tell you and it’s not saying you have to get it right on the first try. It’s a micro-aggression if the student or person is repeatedly telling you how to say their name and you CHOOSE to call them something else or DON’T care enough to learn how to say it correctly. I’m a school counselor and I have heard students tell me that some of their teachers give THEM an attitude because the teacher can’t pronounce their name as if it is the student’s fault. That makes the student feel as if they are not worth the teacher’s time and makes them feel ashamed. Names ARE a huge part of our identity and everyone deserves to be called what they wish. Whenever a student tells me their name and then tries to give me an abbreviation, I thank them, but tell them I would rather learn how to say their full name correctly if that is what they want to be called. Learning a student’s (or any person’s) name can be so empowering for them and also teaches them to be proud of who they are and their background, no matter what culture they are a part of. Furthermore, parents have the right to name their child whatever they want. I’m not saying that I haven’t heard some interesting or unconventional names and thought ‘wow why would someone name their child that’ –be real, we all have done that. But after all it doesn’t really matter what you think and you learn how to say it because that is the person’s name and soon YOU get over it. Especially as educators and school professionals we are taught to check our biases all the time and that’s really what the point is. If this doesn’t apply to you then great! But after my own personal experience growing up and now as a school counselor, I can definitely say this article has truth in it and it IS a real thing that student’s experience. I also believe that YOU are the adult and it is YOUR responsibility as a teacher to set an example by teaching students that they are unique, beautiful, worthy, amazing individuals regardless of the different identities they have, including their names.

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  25. Evan

    Is it also micro-aggression when students call me “Mrs” instead of “Mr”? Or when they refer to me by the name of my team-teacher?

    When did everyone decide they needed to be offended by everything? People got my name wrong all through my childhood. Instead of being offended I embraced it and would even introduce myself with the phrase, “but most people call me …”

    Reply
  26. Kairmarius Deniska Champion

    I do understand the importance of having your named pronounced correctly, this is something that has never been an issue with me. My aunt gave me my unique first and middle names of Kairmarius Deniska and almost everyone I meet has their own interpretation on the pronunciation even after I tell them how I prefer it to be pronounced. Hell, my family including the aunt that named me conveniently just call me Maris. Regardless of how people say my name, I laugh and rejoice in the uniqueness of my name and the fact that so many people try their best to say it even if they get it wrong.

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  27. Destinia

    We also need to take into consideration that the whole name might not be visible to the teacher if it is long. Sometimes there is not enough spaces to have the complete name. I used to get angry when teachers called me Destin until a teacher showed me her paper work where it was cut off. Patience is important, I don’t think people are purposely mispronouncing names to be malicious until you’ve corrected them a few times, then they’re being rude

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  28. Tersey

    An annoyance is not a micro aggression. People have mispronounced my unusual first name for my entire life. If that was the worst thing that ever happened to me I’d be grateful. No wonder these millenials are such tender flowers. Part of becoming a mature individual is learning to avoid having your feelings hurt about inconsequesntial things. get over yourselves.

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  29. Duke Eastwood

    Expecting every person to know how to correctly pronounce your name (which is only correct to you) is the real micro-aggression.

    My last name is mispronounced to this day, and I was a straight A student. So this is not an excuse to fail! Krystle Crossman you are wrong, and should reconsider the damage you are doing when you write articles like this.

    Also, this website not letting me edit my previous comment is a micro-aggression, and there needs to be a policy in place to punish this bigotry.

    Reply
  30. Former Teacher

    The names that always tripped me up had typical spellings, but unusual pronunciations. MaryBeth pronounce with a soft A sound, Karen pronounced with a hard E…

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  31. Nicole

    Asking the student is all well and good. If they can tell you. My daughter has an uncommon name but since she is special needs has a hard time communicating to someone what her name is.

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  32. Juwar74

    I hate to say it, but too many bitter black women on here. Is your self esteem so low, or your hatred of white people so intense that any mistake someone makes is considered hostile? Give me a break! What a bunch of unstable emotional creatures who turns everything into an attack on their “culture,” which isn’t African anyway. Although black Americans are descendants of the Middle Passage, they are not Africans. It’s really time to acknowledge that Black Americans are now and have always been a different breed. So any American black woman who is naming their child these “-ishas” and “-eekas” and “-ondas” are being fake. Unless they are Muslim or actually from Africa, they should be naming their children from what Black slaves have been naming their children historically–The Bible. All these crazy names didn’t really come about until the 70’s anyway.

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  33. Kathy

    When I have a name that I don’t know how to pronounce, I will write it phonitically next to the student’s name. We must learn how to pronounce all student’s names, it is just common courtesy.

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  34. willow yerxa

    I get what is being said here I really do. However one on ten people say my last name right and at most I giggle as they try and say it. My first name is unusual and people literally hear something different bc they are not expecting it to be what it is. Does it irritate me? Only very rarely and I never have taken it personal. My child has an unusual name and since the age of three she will assertively say no, repeat it and then spell it. Neither she or I are afraid to correct people. I get it some kids and grown ups may not feel as confident doing so and certainly people that can’t be bothered to try and say folks name right is screwed up but I don’t think as a rule it is necessarily experienced in a universal way when folks mispronounce.

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  35. Siobhan Travers

    Before switching to my equally unpronounceable middle name, I spent five years being Tuttle instead of turtle. HOW do you not pronounce turtle correctly? I was the only Native American in my class.

    Reply
  36. Come On

    When I saw an article about this on the NEA’s website, I had to call bull and I am black.

    I am an elementary special subject area teacher in a very diverse school of 1,000 students. That means I teach all 1,000 students. So, my issue is more of calling the students the wrong name or forgetting a name rather than intentionally mispronouncing a name. However, I do struggle with name pronunciations. I’m upfront in telling students how many names I must learn and that it will be difficult to get it right all the time. When I mess up, I always tell them not to be upset and that I don’t mean any harm. It’s just that there are literally a thousand of them. Some get it and some don’t.

    When it comes to pronunciations, a difficult thing for me is the many ways you can pronounce a name with the same spelling. Take the name Andrea. You may have one student who pronounces it ANdrea while another one pronounces it anDREa. Or maybe a third one who pronounces it onDREa or a fourth one who says ONdrea. What about Arianna? One may be air-rianna. Another may be are-rianna. And those aren’t even “strange” names. Then there are the siblings with similar names that are prone to be mixed up like Keshia (kee-sha) and Kasha (kay-sha).

    I’m sorry for those of you who had teachers who were flippant about mispronouncing your name and did not show that they were trying to get it right. However, if the teachers are communicating that they are trying their best and show you how you can correct them, the students will be understanding and won’t suffer any damage.

    I feel like this X, Y, and Z are offensive trend in today’s society is getting out of hand.

    Reply
  37. Kim Hunter

    This is such a poorly written article. It’s sad that it’s on a homeschooling website. It’s written as clickbait. In order to get as much attention (clicks) as possible. Reread the last 2 paragraphs (a few times). It is actually TRYING to say that if you continue to keep mispronouncing someone’s name it is a form of microaggression. And actually if someone tells you the proper way to pronounce their name and you CONTINUE to mispronounce it, you are being disrespectful. If I had to grade this author I would give her a D. She did not get her point across properly and she was very misleading. But, since this is basically a clickbait article in order to get as many hits to this site as possible she would get an A from me. She sure accomplished her goal. I don’t have kids, but if I did I certainly wouldn’t use this sketchy website for any type of schooling advice. If this is the type of articles they have, it’s actually kind of a joke

    Reply
  38. David F Mayer

    By shielding children from “Microaggressions”, we are turning them into marshmallows who cannot tolerate ANYTHING that they don’t like.

    If a teacher mispronounces a name, the student can simply correct her:

    “Excuse me, Mrs Smith. My name is pronounce “DAYROAL” not “DEERUL”.

    “Thanks you Robert. I will make a note on my records.”

    Reply

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