On Listening to Your Teacher Take Attendance

by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Photo by Kellie Szkatulski

Writing Workshop

Workshop Title: Mispronunciation

Step 1

Have your students watch the embedded video. Then have them discuss how they felt when this experience (or something similar) has happened to them or how they felt when they’ve witnessed it.

Step 2

Read “On Listening to Your Teacher Take Attendance” by Aimee Nezhukumatathil. Then have them discuss her take on that experience and how she was able to convey her feelings.

Step 3

Have them come up with one experience that stands out to them. Then have them fill out the “sensory details chart” to help them illustrate that experience in as much detail as possible. Give them 10-15 minutes to fill out this chart. If they’ve never personally experienced this situation, they may write from the hypothetical point of view of another person. You may print out this slide, if needed.

Step 4

Tell your students to write a poem similar to “On Listening to Your Teacher Take Attendance” by Aimee Nezhukumatathil in which they recount their experience, in as much detail as possible, of having their name mispronounced by their teacher.

Step 5

When the students are done, have them share their responses with one another.

The full presentation may be found HERE.

Analytical Lesson

Area of Focus: Various

Step 1

This lesson allows students to analyze various concepts and skills, so it is recommended that you have covered several of the “standalone” lessons before assigning this one. The prominent literary devices & techniques that this particular poem includes are: imagery, selection of detail, figurative language, and diction.

Step 2

Read the article provided for you in the External Resources (Historical Context). Then discuss your students’ experiences or observations with the issue.

Step 3

Watch Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s recitation of “On Listening to Your Teacher Take Attendance.” Then briefly discuss her take on the issue.

Step 4

Have your students open up the following document and go over the instructions with them. In short, the students are going to verbally/vocally analyze the poem using the online program Screencast-O-Matic. Make sure to show them the provided example in the instructions so they know what is expected of them.

Step 5

Give your students time to create their video. When the students are done, have them download their video, upload it to Google Drive, change the sharing settings, and attach the hyperlink to the original document.

Step 6

Have a few students share some of their takeaways. Then share the following recording so they can compare their responses.

Lesson Details

Lesson Info


  • Various


  • Children / Youth
  • Community / Culture
  • History
  • International
  • Race / Ethnicity / Racism

Literary Tags

  • Diction
  • Figurative Language
  • Imagery
  • Selection of Detail