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Teacher mispronounces every student's name to get a laugh, but it also serves a bigger purpose

A teacher mispronounced her students' names, which ironically may have made all of them feel more welcome.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to include additional information


Anyone who has lived in the U.S. with a nontraditionally American name knows how hard it can be to get some people to pronounce your name correctly.

My husband's name is Javad, which is only two syllables and objectively not hard to say (juh-VAHD), but I've watched many people mutilate it over the years even after being given the correct pronunciation. I remember one time watching him introduce himself to a man clearly and slowly—twice—and the man still called him "Bob," like he couldn't even digest this name he'd never heard before, much less pronounce it.

As a kid, at the beginning of every school year or every time a substitute teacher came around, it was common for my husband to have to correct the pronunciation of his name. Not the end of the world, but annoying. I can't imagine how much more annoying it is for people with longer names that aren't familiar to many American ears.


A video of a teacher mispronouncing every student's name has gotten a huge response on Reddit, presumably for the humor of it. The names she reads off the attendance list are ones that are common enough in the U.S. that pronunciation normally wouldn't be an issue—Luke, Jacob and Hunter, for example. But she manages to bungle them anyway—yes, even Luke—and it is genuinely funny.

But saying Luke as "Luck" and Hunter as "Hoonter" did more than just give her students a giggle. It also puts every student on the same playing field. If there were students in her class with less common names that might easily be mispronounced, they now find themselves in the same shoes as all of their classmates. They no longer stand out as "the kid with the name the teacher didn't know how to pronounce."

If every kid has to correct the teacher, then doing so is no big deal. No one is "othered" by it. It's just a funny thing they all do. And it also gives the teacher a chance to hear each kid's name from their own mouth instead of trying to read it off a list without ever hearing it.

The only risk here is accidentally pronouncing an unfamiliar name correctly the first time, but that seems unlikely. And it actually would probably just add another layer of humor to the already light atmosphere. Because a teacher mispronouncing a student's name can have a lasting impact, it's important to do what we can to keep it from happening.

The thing about unfamiliar names is that they usually aren't as hard to pronounce as people make them out to be. They're simply unfamiliar.

I mean, if we can pronounce Beethoven (which doesn't look like it sounds), Tchaikovsky (which has all those consonants) and Dostoyevsky (which has four syllables) without even thinking about it, we can learn to pronounce any name. In fact, Nigerian actress Uzo Aduba illustrated this exact point in a story about how her last name always made her the first kid in roll call and she was concerned that no one knew how to pronounce her name right. Her mother reassured her, "If they can learn to say Tchaikovsky and Michelangelo and Dostoyevsky, they can learn to say Uzoamaka."

It might take some practice, and we might have to ask people's forgiveness if it takes us a while, but it's not impossible.

Some people in the comments on Reddit pointed out that the teacher's roll call was an innovative way of making every student feel equally welcomed in the classroom. But even more said it reminded them of a hilarious Key & Peele skit about a hard-nosed substitute teacher mispronouncing students' names and getting angry when they corrected him.

A bit of a language warning in case you have little ones around, but it's great if you haven't seen it. You'll never see the name "Blake" the same way again.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Democracy

Appalachian mom's speech on Kentucky's proposed abortion ban is a must-hear for everyone

Danielle Kirk is speaking up for those often overlooked in our cultural debates.

Canva, courtesy of Danielle Kirk

Appalachian mom gives passionate speech.

Many people felt a gut punch when the Supreme Court issued its decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned the decades-old Roe v. Wade decision that protected a woman's right to an abortion. However, for some this was a call to action.

Danielle Kirk, 27, a mom of two and an activist on TikTok, used her voice in an attempt to educate the people that make decisions in her small town. Kirk lives in Kentucky where a trigger law came into effect immediately after Roe v. Wade was overturned. Being a former foster child, she knew she had to say something. Kirk spoke exclusively with Upworthy about why she decided to speak up.

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Memories of childhood get lodged in the brain, emerging when you least expect.

There are certain pleasurable sights, smells, sounds and tastes that fade into the rear-view mirror as we grow from being children to adults. But on a rare occasion, we’ll come across them again and it's like a portion of our brain that’s been hidden for years expresses itself, creating a huge jolt of joy.

It’s wonderful to experience this type of nostalgia but it often leaves a bittersweet feeling because we know there are countless more sensations that may never come into our consciousness again.

Nostalgia is fleeting and that's a good thing because it’s best not to live in the past. But it does remind us that the wonderful feeling of freedom, creativity and fun from our childhood can still be experienced as we age.

A Reddit user by the name of agentMICHAELscarnTLM posed a question to the online forum that dredged up countless memories and experiences that many had long forgotten. He asked a simple question, “What’s something you can bring up right now to unlock some childhood nostalgia for the rest of us?”

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