If you're pronouncing for a school or local bee this year and you've never done it before, you might be unsure of what to do. The first part of this post addressed how a pronouncer should prepare for a bee. This installment, the second and final of this series, will address what's important for a pronouncer (especially a new one) to remember once they're at the bee. So, without further ado, part two!
Remember that pronouncers are not judges. You do not have the authority to be a part of settling any kind of dispute. There should be an odd number of judges so that any dispute will ultimately end with a majority opinion, but you do not get to be a part of that decision, because the pronouncer is not a judge.
Don't be afraid to tell kids to talk louder. This is something I've struggled with personally as a pronouncer. It's not uncommon for a student to spell rather quietly or not speak directly enough into the microphone. Instead of straining to hear what the student is saying, ask all participants politely to enunciate clearly and speak directly into the microphone. It will save you and the judges a lot of trouble. If you can, ask the judges to hold a practice round before the actual bee to ensure that everyone is talking clearly enough.
Be prepared for criticism. At every single bee I've attended, there's been at least one appeal where the primary grounds used to argue the appeal was some flaw in the pronunciation of the word. Be open to the fact that you may have made a mistake. However, it is also important to keep in mind that many people are very invested in these bees and are, therefore, highly emotional about them. If someone is being very aggressive or emotional about an appeal concerning your pronunciation, stay calm. Wait for the judges to address their concerns, and have good sportsmanship regardless of the outcome (yes, sportsmanship is important for officials too, not just spellers).
Do you have any other questions about how to be the best you can be as a spelling bee pronouncer? Let me know and I'd be happy to address them!