I pride myself in knowing all of my student’s names by the end of the first week of class. This is no easy task because I typically have 180 students a semester. Each year I think, “How am I going to do this again” and then somehow I manage to do it. Here are my tricks:
- I match them up with a partner, and provide them with a list of off the wall questions. Questions like: “How long can you hold your breath?” “What are your thoughts on pears?” and “If you could change your name, for safety reasons, what would it be?” They have to interview their partner with that list of silly six questions. Then the students introduce their new friend by choosing and sharing three of the questions. I sit in the back of the classroom, and one by one the groups go up. As they introduce themselves, I sit in the back and laugh and cheer. Then I say, “Okay, gang, what were their names?” and we all repeat them back, and clap.
- When the first class period is over, I throw as many elbows as I can to get to the door first. Then, as they are leaving, I say something like, “Thank you for coming to class today Terrell” and if I don’t have their name I say, “Thank you for coming to class today, purple shirt…what’s your name again?” I do this with all of them.
- I try to use their name in the hallway if I see them, even if it’s the wrong one. They know I’m trying, and they will correct me.
I’m not the most organized of people, so seating charts don’t work for me, but conversation and getting to know little funny things about them allows me to lock those names in fairly quickly.