Do You Know Your Student’s Names?

By Peter Connor

If not, you should...

Straight from the College Jokes section of the Jokes ‘N Jokes Web site, comes an undeniably funny story, the moral of which is worth the read, and worth remembering.

It was the final examination for an introductory English course at the local university. Like many such freshman courses, it was designed to weed out new students, having over 700 students in the class!
The examination was two hours long, and exam booklets were provided.

The professor was very strict and told the class that any exam that was not on his desk in exactly two hours would not be accepted and the student would fail. Half an hour into the exam, a student came rushing in and asked the professor for an exam booklet.

"You're not going to have time to finish this," the professor stated sarcastically as he handed the student a booklet.

"Yes I will," replied the student. She then took a seat and began writing. After two hours, the professor called for the exams, and the students filed up and handed them in, all except the late student, who continued writing.

Half an hour later, the last student came up to the professor who was sitting at his desk preparing for his next class. She attempted to put his exam on the stack of exam booklets already there.

"No you don't, I'm not going to accept that. It's late."

The student looked incredulous and angry.

Name Tag: My Name is Elizabeth"Do you know WHO I am?"

"No, as a matter of fact I don't," replied the professor with an air of sarcasm in his voice.

"DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?" the student asked again.

"No, and I don't care." replied the professor with an air of superiority.

"Good," replied the student, who quickly lifted the stack of completed exams, stuffed her exam in the middle, and walked out of the room.

How large the class, how many classes you teach per semester, and various other things, can all weigh on the task of learning the names of your students: nonetheless, making an effort at the beginning of every semester shows your students that you respect their goals and purpose in coming to learn what you have to teach.

It often makes a big difference to your students and… from time-to-time…every now and again…just every once in a while, it might make a difference to you, too.

Here’s a short, useful list of suggestions from TeacherVison on Learning Students’ Names Quickly.


Jokes ‘N Jokes. (n.d.) Late Final. Retrieved from

TeacherVision. (n.d) Learning Students’ Names Quickly. Retrieved from


Thanks to Dr. Douglas Hoffman, University Distinguished Teaching Scholar, Professor of Marketing, and Master Teacher Initiative (MTI) Coordinator for the College of Business at Colorado State University for this Teaching Tip suggestion.