Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Head lice and funny accents

Trondell has head lice. Yuck. And gross. And EEEWWW! When I went to pick him up for his lesson, I found him frantically scratching his head like some feral child. The learning assistant whispered his little secret to me yesterday after I mentioned his new buzz cut. Stop scratching your head, I told him. I have head lice, he replied (actually, quite a reasonable reply). Well, said his eavesdropping teacher, let's... not advertise it.

Head lice policy over here is as such: well, there is no head lice policy. Pupils should be treated at home and are allowed to still attend school. The school do not do head checks and they do not notify parents if there is an outbreak at school. They will find out when their darling Tarquin comes home, madly scratching like a crack addict.

I'm scratching my head as I speak, even though it is highly unlikely that I have acquired the lice. That being said, I'm going be squirting a lot of extra oil in my hair so that those buggers don't have anything to latch onto. I'll be leaving smudges on the bus windows for weeks!

The children often make comments about my funny speech. Most recently, the P1 (kindergarten) pupils were spelling the word water. Now. We say wa-terrr. Up in the north, some people say funny and they say WAAH-er, the teacher said. That's how Ms says it! they said. I have never said WAAH-er in my life, children, I thought, slightly indignant. And to prove it, I said water, in my normal voice. They all looked at me disbelievingly. That's not how you really say it, said the teacher, That sounds English. Aren't I supposed to be speaking English here?

It's amazing how unconscious the acquisition of a new accent can be. I love listening to others accents and trying to mimic them. I used to do that to this girl at uni to the point of frustration, but she had the best NC mountain accent ever. Boy even says that he notices how I repeat everything people say here in their accent. And wishes I would stop. I think I must have sounded really judgmental when I was telling you about the Poet in the last entry, the American living over here. But it's only natural to pick up some sort of accent when you're living among the natives, as it were. I do it quite consciously at times, as I teach in schools here. I'm very aware of how I'm going to ruin them forever with my bloody American accent, so I do try to adopt some odd sort of slightly British-y accent. Which means I sound mad.

I've begun to teach phonics to a struggling group of P1 pupils. They are the poorest in their classes, so let's think about this. Is the American with the fucked up accent the answer to helping them with their problems with phonics? Rule of thumb for acquiring a Scottish accent: make every long vowel a short vowel. Easy to say, bloody hard to do. My typical lesson with the word bang:
    All right pupils, let's write this word: bāng. No, wait, I mean, băng. You băng a drum. Let's say the sounds, ready? Buh-ā... no, wait, sorry. Let's try that again: Buh... um... ă-ng. Băng. Now write bāng in your book -- I mean băng. Just write whatever you think it's supposed to be.

Anyways, apologies to the Poet. Hope she wasn't too offended and comes back to read the blog. And be's my friend. Be's... that's an American word, isn't it?


Anonymous Amah said...

I had head lice in elementary school. In fact, my brothers and sisters had them too. What a pain!! Had to use a close-tooth comb to rake thru the hair to get all the lice after pouring stinky stuff on the head. It's easier to remove these days, I'm told.

Hang in there with the pronunciations. When you get back to the States, you'll mess up the kids here too!!

Thursday, 18 May 2006 at 22:45:00 BST  
Anonymous a.t.w. said...

Ya, had you come back to Oskies a year or two earlier, you too would have had to go through the whole elementary school lice outbreak. It would happen every now and then, usually after camp at Nakijin. We would all get checked from day to day and be forced to wear our hair in braids. Yeesh. I was in fear of getting it.

Friday, 19 May 2006 at 02:23:00 BST  
Blogger Daniela Theresa said...

my son got infected by head lice by his friends. i treated it by using some nits comb and head lice shampoo.

Monday, 21 November 2011 at 21:14:00 GMT  

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