It’s the start of the new semester and I’m sitting in a class of forty or so people. The professor passes out the syllabus and then picks up an attendance sheet. In an attempt to learn our names, he or she decides to call out names instead of having us sign in for the first few weeks. And so, the professor begins to call out names. ‘Thomas, John, Sarah, Emily, Natalie, Sarah, Peter, Sarah…’
What’s missing? Last names! Why do professors take attendance using first names only?! It’s one of my biggest pet peeves about professors. In a class of forty or so students, there will undoubtedly be at least three Sarahs. It was the third most popular name in 1988. So, how am I supposed to know which Sarah a professor is talking about when they take attendance? I don’t want to raise my hand for some other Sarah and give them my attendance point. And if that other Sarah is actually in class and we both raise our hands, one of us is bound to look like an idiot.
After the first two or three days of class, I can figure out which Sarah I am, the second or third, but that first day is always the worst. I can usually bet that if one of the first names a professor calls out is Sarah, it’s not me, since my last name is towards the end of the alphabet, but it’s still irritating.
It’s something that’s easily solved. It’s not difficult to call out last names as well; they’re right there on the list. Students are stressed enough, don’t add to it by making them wonder if they’ve claimed an attendance point for another student instead of themselves. Use last names as well.
Although, on the other side of the spectrum, I had a professor use last names and no first names. It didn’t help me much since my last name can also be a first name and when he called it out I thought he was using someone’s first name. So, professors, using both names is useful.