1. Know your students

The students like to be called by their first names. In the US, calling students with their last name is considered formal and hence not recommended. In Jordan, calling students with their last names doesn’t imply formality and some times it might be better than calling a student with his/her first name.

So how to memorize students’ names?*

  1. A very good tool to help teachers remember their students’ names is that my university provides a roster accompanied with students photos. Since this is not the case in all universities continue reading.
  2. You can invest two minutes of lecture time by asking five students to introduce themselves; their names, majors, hobbies, something they plan to do or something good they have achieved or did. Doing this every class has great affect on students; they will know each others and they will feel you care to know them.
  3. Every time a student come to your office hours ask him about his name so you remember it next time he comes to your office or ask a question in class.
  4. When a student correctly answers one of your in-class questions ask for his name. This has twofold; it will help you memorize his name and the student will feel appreciated and is doing a good job.
  5. Spend some time and make an effort to memorize your students’ names.

* Although memorizing students’ names is not applicable in classes with more than 50 students or so at least memorize the names of students who like to participate or regularly ask questions.

5 thoughts on “1. Know your students

  1. hey,
    interesting tips you’re offering.. I’ll make sure to keep checking your updates on teaching at a U.S collage since i’ll be doing it myself!
    I’ve T.A-ed a class before, but never had the chance to teach a whole class on my own.
    from my T.Aing experience, I highly appreciate the fact that the student roster matches names to pictures; despite that undergrads tend to change their looks very often (hairstyles/color), having students’ pictures printed on the roster really made it easier for me to know students’ names!

    also, i noticed that not only do students at U.S collages like being called with their first name, they’d prefer being called with nicknames they provide at the beginning of the semester😀

  2. Secratea,
    I am glad you liked my post.
    Thanks for your suggestion about students’ nicknames. I usually, write their nicknames in the roster specially because they also use it in exams and assignments so I have to map the nicknames to the real names.

  3. yeah you are right!
    btw, sometimes even half way through the smester, i still pronounce some students’ names in odd (extremely funny LOL) ways, especially those with Latino pronounciations… boy, i feel sorry for my students! hehehe

  4. I usually tell my students “if you hear a name that sounds like yours most probably its yours”. They laugh and like the sense of humor. It seems I should write a post about international TAs in the U.S. This would be a good post.

  5. after mispronouncing some of my students’ names, i tell them: “see, that’s nothing to be compared to the way i feel when the majority of my students pronounce my name wrong”.. that actually gives them a big laugh! LOL

    “It seems I should write a post about international TAs in the U.S. This would be a good post.”

    looking forward to reading it!

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