I have 60+ students this quarter between my three discussion section. It’s now week six of the quarter and I still only know a few student’s names. I always have trouble memorizing the student’s names, so this quarter I made a special effort. I took notes while everyone was introducing themselves the first week. I looked at people’s pictures on facebook. I take attendance every week and try to match names and faces. It’s getting embarrassing. I’m starting to want to explain to students that I have memory issues and I really am trying to learn their names. Maybe next quarter I need to take pictures of everyone and make student photo flash cards.

Also, I have a terrible time pronouncing unfamiliar Asian names. I normally spell everything phonetically and sound out unfamiliar words. It’s like I have some sort of learning disability. I’m spelling challenged in English and have no experience with Asian languages.

I think I have to search the internet for advice, because I’m just culturally illiterate.

Then I’m extra confused because those same students sometimes want to be called by their American nick-names. The other day one of my students came up to me and asked for her paper, then she said, “Can I have my friend’s paper too?”
So I said, “Sure what’s your friend’s name?”
“Jason,” then continued, “Oh, it’s something like, “xxxxx.”

I don’t like it when my pagan friends decide everyone has to call them by a special, magical name and suddenly I have to keep track of two different names for each person. I’m much more sympathetic when I comes to people Americanizing their names, because my RL name is very long and difficult. I can understand why someone might want to just have a name that everyone around them can pronounce, but it doesn’t make it easy for me and my memory problems.

Remembering everyone’s names seems important to me, a sign that I care about and respect my students. Constantly mispronouncing or forgetting their names makes me sad.