Learning to Pronounce ‘Siobhan’: Success Is All in the Context

In order to gain energy and inspiration to write this blog, I sat down with the second half of my pint of delicious Ben & Jerry’s Mint Chocolate Cookie ice cream that I earned last week.  And while it inspired my taste buds, little else happened until I thought long and hard about what made this week successful. At first, it wasn’t obvious.

I have to agree with Beth Eyres on this one.  Week 4 has been tough. Papers are coming due and need attention.  I have had an ear infection all week, and although it arrived without pain, I feel like I’ve been living in a cross between a cave and a wind tunnel that comes with live amplifier feedback directly plugged into my brain.

On top of that, my son has had the flu–a pretty bad case of it.  One day he slept for 20 of 24 hours. He can’t get the flu shot because it’s made in egg shells, which causes a strong allergic reaction in him. I get the flu shot in case he comes down with it.  I didn’t expect to get the ear infection instead.  Happily, today he’s pretty normal again.

At any rate, knowing that by the week’s end I’d have a blog to write, I have been going about my week trying to think of a student success story, or any success story, to share.  But my success has simply been making it through this week.  My success has been that on the Friday in the fourth week of classes, I was to teach 48 students, and 44 made it to classes between two different sections.  I think that’s a pretty good turn out given the types of viruses and bacteria that are clearly running rampant.  My success was also that a (small) handful of students appeared unexpectedly at the GCC Reads meeting that I facilitated this afternoon. Last week, only two people appeared, and only one said that she’d be able to come back. I fully expected to walk into an empty room today. Instead, I was met by four faces, three of which were smiling and excited to discuss the love of reading, pets, and autism. (And the fourth person wasn’t sure why he was there, but that was okay, too.)  Together, as a group, we learned how to pronounce the Irish woman’s name, Siobhan, who is one of the characters in the book.  A student was that interested to ask how to say it, and I was grateful to him for making me look it up on the spot. I quickly learned that I had already read the entire novel once mispronouncing the name in my head.  Apparently, it is said, “Sha-vonne” with an Irish accent, to wit:

My final success of today was that I filed a group travel form for the MEChA nationals conference next month *using the new system* and it worked!

Today’s realization: successes are small and contextual. What makes me feel successful today may not be nearly as thrilling in a different week.  But this week?  Cursed week four?  Well, I’ll take it!

 

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