baby names for dummies
Image by alist via Flickr

A little while ago I received my roster for my fall Comp-101 writing class.

I scored a great building.

(No pole in the middle of the classroom this semester, people!)

And I have a full house, so there is no chance the class will be canceled.

Also reassuring.

And then I noticed it.

Assuming everybody shows on the first day, I should have four Ashleighs.

And an Ashley.

Four Zacharys.

And a Zach.

One Nathan.

And a Nate.

Oh, and two students with the last name “Johnson.”

With my luck, they will be identical twins.

Holy crowly!

I’m usually pretty good with names, but I’m thinking it is going to take me longer than usual to figure out who is who.

Several years ago, I repeatedly called a student Brennan. Problem was his name wasn’t Brennan; it was Brendan. By chance, Brendan chose to sit in the exact same seat that Brennan sat in one hour earlier. I tried moving Brendan’s seat, but I kept calling him Brennan. He was gracious at first – but eventually, he got annoyed.

Can you blame him?

But even if I goofed up my students’ names, I never confused their grades because my sound-alikes were in different sections.

But this year is going to be different.

All these students with the same-sounding names will be in the same section.

How are we going to have class discussion?

What will I do if 3 Ashleighs are simultaneously raising their hands because they want to respond to something?

Secretly, I find myself praying that one or more of my duplicates will drop my class before the semester starts. Or, in the very least, that each student will have dramatically different appearances and personality traits.

I’m hoping that Ashleigh #1 will be an amazing writer who loves to talk while Ashleigh #2 will be lazy and fall asleep at her desk each day. With any luck Ashleigh #3 will have tanning-booth bronze skin a la Snooki, and Ashleigh #4 will be an albino with red eyes and protective eyewear. I haven’t figured out what Ashley could be like. Maybe she will walk through the doors wearing a fabulous fuchsia pin. And maybe I can persuade her to agree to wear it every day Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the entire fifteen weeks of the semester.

I’m a little anxious about this. Can you tell?

What tricks do you use to remember people’s names? And what tactics do you recommend for a situation like this — other than a seating chart. Think creatively, people.

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