One issue here at AGU is the size of the classes that we teach. You may or may not know that students here study in cohorts, that is, their class studies every subject together. Students here can’t choose their classes like we’re so used to in America. However, these classes can get pretty big. One of the biggest classes of English majors has 44 students, and I think the smallest class has 30 students. But all teachers end up teaching multiple classes, which means lots of students. It gets difficult to remember all their names, much less remember any information about them. I think it’s harder for the foreign teachers to remember names because the names are so strange at first. But even lots of the Vietnamese teachers can’t remember all the names because there are just so many students.
So I’ve been making an effort to combat this phenomenon of forgetting students’ names. I guess it started when Sharla was here: she took pictures of all her students, then glued the picture to a card, and then had the students write their names, birthdays, email addresses, and some other information on the cards. I’ve copied this trend and I’m trying to take it a step further. I downloaded a program to keep track of birthdays, and so far I’ve added more than 100 student birthdays. I’ve decided to send emails to students when it’s their birthday, and if their birthday falls on a day that I teach them, then they’ll get a card in class. I see it as just a little reminder to the students that the teachers care about them.