Number one for English language teachers

Anecdote: Remembering names

Type: Anecdote

An anecdote by Julia Vladimirova on trying to remember students' names

I teach Russian at an American university, where I study for my MA in TESOL. One of the problems I have is to remember students' names. Some of groups are big, and all names are foreign to me, but I always try to learn them as soon as I can.

Last semester I had a student in the group, who used to miss class very often. Of course I had a hard time trying to remember her name. Finally, I learned that her name is Amber. Soon after that she dropped the class due to illness. But this semester she showed up again. I must say she is a very talented student, and despite her illness she had made very good progress studying on her own. But I noticed that in classroom discussions, everyone called her Melissa. I felt really bad because I thought something had happened to my memory. Once, talking to her, I also called her Melissa. The class burst into laughter. I got very upset, but later they explained me that since she had been absent for so long they had forgotten her name and thought her name was Melissa. Of course they found out her real name, but they continued to call her Melissa, just for fun. And they made their teacher so confused!

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