Happy New Year everyone! I haven’t written much lately, but what can I say….life has been busy! Today, I am deviating from my usual topics of travel to something about my little girl – her name. Her name is Chandra, and I’m kind of getting irritated that she keeps on getting called Shaandra. I distinctly remember telling her Kindergarten teacher on the first day of school about my daughter’s name and how to pronounce it. Yet, I have noticed that she keeps on referring to her as Shaandra (I elongate the name the way Americans pronounce it – quite stretched out). But, not only does the teacher call her Shaandra, now all her classmates and the entire school (everyone who knows her there) is calling her the same name.
What would you do in a situation like this? I let it go for a while, but then I brought it up to the teacher’s attention at a conference in the politest way that I could as it feels like I am almost being mean by telling someone they are wrong, but this is my daughter’s name and it’s important. I know Chandra has told her teacher too that her name starts with a “Ch”, but she is also being ignored. I was ignored in the parent/teacher conference too as two minutes later in the conversation, I heard the teacher again say “Shaandra”. What could I do? Should I have said “excuse me, you just got my daughter’s name wrong again?”. This is kind of a complex problem. However, I did remind her at the end of the conference about Chandra’s name, and if she could please try calling her Chandra and not Shaandra. She said she would try to remember to consciously think about the pronunciation of my daughter’s name, however, I believe she did not make an effort at all since I asked Chandra later in the day after school whether her teacher had started to call her Chandra, and she told me she still calls her Shaandra. I was quite disappointed. I told Chandra to correct her teacher the next day, but sadly she told me her teacher just ignored her. The other day I hear a sixth grader who seemed really nice, say “Hi, Shaandra” and I almost wanted to say “her name is Chandra”. When I told Chandi (that’s her nickname) that she should have told her, she said that would be mean.
I can relate to the teacher in some ways, since I used to mispronounce someone’s name – when a family friend had been introduced to me with an incorrect pronunciation, that’s how I used to say his name, and that is how I thought his name was pronounced. It finally dawned upon me that we were saying it incorrectly (me and my kids and the person who had introduced us to the family friend), and even though it was hard to change the way I said it, it was the only correct thing to do. After all, I wasn’t pronouncing his name properly and that wasn’t fair, so I made the effort, and now it’s easy to say it properly. The teacher must do this very same thing too. After all, she is a teacher and should be concerned about pronouncing the names of all her students properly – after all they are her students and she is influencing all the other students to say my daughter’s name incorrectly. Now, other parents are saying it incorrectly, as well as the sixth grader and who knows how many others in the school? Is anyone paying attention to my little Chandi? She does count. Her name counts. I wish they would say her name properly. It’s Chandra with a “Ch” and not with a “Sh”. Prince Charles would not be amused if you called him Prince Sharles. It would be quite unpardonable. Anyway, why do Americans find it hard to say “Ch” as in Charles and seem dispositioned to make a “Sh” noise when something is spelt with a “Ch”. In England, we would not have this problem. “Ch” is quite clearly a “ch” noise and we got taught “Ch” for Charles, “Ch” for cheese, “Ch” for charming. Where did “Sh” come into the picture? “Sh” is clearly “Sh” for “shine”, “Sh” for “shoe” and “Sh” for shirt. They are distinctly different. Should I be telling a Kindergarten teacher this or should she be teaching this very same thing to these 4, 5 and 6 year olds?
As to the next step in this matter, perhaps I have to send an email to the teacher and ask her to please apply more effort and to address the entire class so that they will also make an effort and pronounce my daughter’s name properly. If this doesn’t work, then I might have to address the entire school in an assembly and appeal to them to say my little girl’s name properly. Am I making too much of this? I would do anything for Chandra, and I think teaching people to pronounce her name properly is one of the best gifts that I can give her, otherwise she will struggle unfortunately with people telling her that her name is not Chandra, it’s Shaandra…..yes, this is happening already. My daughter does know her own name, please give her credit for that.
Here are some pictures taken in Washington, DC:
Incase you are wondering how to pronounce this Princess’ name, it’s really simple…..here’s the Indian sounding pronunciation of it:
Here’s another version:
I couldn’t record my own voice easily into a similar soundbite, so I was compelled to delve into my video footage and I made another video (it’s been awhile!) – it’s a brief clip of the Washington, DC World War Two Memorial:
In the video, it starts off with me talking to Chandra, so you’ll hear me say her name. We all have our own accents and our own pronunciation and that is fine, but just please don’t call her Shaandra.
On October 11, 2012, people around the world will celebrate the first International Day of the Girl. The United Nations made the day official just last year, thanks in part to the advocacy efforts of Plan International USA.
In honor of the day, Plan is bringing female representatives from several of the countries where Because I Am a Girl projects are making a difference, thanks to your generous contributions to the cause. These young women will be in New York City for the first week of October, where they will have the opportunity to share their knowledge and experience, and to have a high-level impact on the international effort to invest in girls’ rights and education.
Read a little about these extraordinary young women–and you’ll see why they were chosen to represent their country and community!
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