While some teachers can have everyone’s name down pat by the end of the first period, others need a little more help. If you are struggling to remember your students’ names, here are 4 time tested tips and 1 new, fun project idea to get you going:
- Create a seating chart right away. Seating charts will help you quickly connect names and faces during attendance and when calling on students. If you keep the seating chart on the podium in the front of your room or on a clip board, you can covertly glance down at names when needed so students won’t be the wiser! I suggest marking the seating chart with students’ preferred names to avoid confusion (e.g. Chris instead of Christopher).
- Greet students at the door. I like to stand at the door and casually greet students as they come in. I’ve had collogues who effectively and joyfully shake hands with every student as they walk in. I take a less formal approach, smiling and saying good morning, using names whenever possible to reinforce them in my brain. I also make quick chit chat with them because knowing a little about them helps me solidify a relationship, not to mention remember names.
- Make name cards. If the seating chart doesn’t help or you choose not to use one, paper tent name cards can also help. You can ask students to tuck them in their books and reuse them all week until you have a better grasp on their names.
- Say their names when you call on them. It may sound weird at first, but it is a networking trick in the business world and beyond. The adage says that saying a name 3 times when you meet a person will help you remember. You may be hard pressed to use every student’s name 3 times in a class period, especially if your numbers are creeping up to 35+ like they are in my area. However, after a few days of diligence, you can sure get in your fair share of naming and remembering.
- Make a fun selfie project! Why not harness the incredible technology so readily available to today’s teens? Sample directions: Take a selfie with something important to you. All photos must be school appropriate. Include your name and period number in the picture. Students could turn them in to you via google docs, celly, email, schoology, evernote, or any other technology that you are comfortable with. Then you can easily study their pictures with names attached and as an added bonus you have great conversation starters built in for getting to know students. Here are to samples of a teacher and a student:
The student is posing with a piece of his art from sculpture class and I am posing with my new baby Willa! Both of these could be great memory devices and conversation starters!
What helps you remember students’ names? How long does it usually take you to know them all?