Today was the last day of the semester for students to add courses, and the last day to drop a course without it showing up on one’s transcript was a week ago. (The order of these two dates, it seems to me, should be switched, but I don’t make the rules around here.) In any event, enrollments for classes have more or less stabilized.
Which means that I’m poring over iPhoto trying to learn each of my student’s names.
See, my students all know who I am, although there is the occasional confusion about the right way to address me, not to mention the panoply of variant (mis-)spellings of my surname. And I feel like it’s not fair for them to all know who they’re looking at each class meeting unless I have the corresponding knowledge.
With small classes (20 or fewer), I usually do a “name game” in class the first couple of class meetings. The most effective one, in my experience:
*the first person says her name,
*the second person says the first person’s name, and then his name,
*the third person says the first person’s name, the second person’s name, and then her own name …
*the nth person says the names of persons 1, 2, 3, …, (n-1), and n
Usually, I’ll be the first person and the last person, so I get to say all the names. This kind of name-learning arrangement has the advantage of making the students learn each other’s names early on, too.
But with classes the size I have now (two sections of around 50 each), the name game is too time consuming, so I do “picture day” and then study the faces until I have a reasonable recollection of which names go with them.
If only my memory were better!
Do you other folks who teach (especially to large enrollments) have good tricks to share for learning (and remembering) student names?
Do the students reading appreciate the effort when those teaching you learn your name early in the semester? Or would you be just as happy as an anonymous student in the classroom?