Attendance lists shouldn’t be that intimidating. Photo: CC, Geralt.
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If professors take attendance they should get names right

Have you ever dreaded your name being called off a list because you knew it would be mispronounced? This is sometimes the case when professors take attendance. If they choose to take attendance, they should make an effort to say the names of their students correctly.

Professors will most likely take attendance in smaller classes because they’ll see the same faces every week, which makes it easier to get acquainted with students. However, when professors do take the time to list off each and every student, there’s always a moment of dread, where students anticipate mispronunciations. The agonizing moment when a student’s name gets read off the list and you’re wondering if the prof is actually trying to get it right or just wants to get on with the class as quickly as possible.

There are always questions that arise when profs are faced with a “difficult” name. (“Is there a nickname you use?”)

There’s nothing wrong with asking if a student has another name that they might want to be called as a way to make them feel welcome. However, if they don’t have another name it can come off as offensive for not wanting to accept that you now have to try to pronounce their real name.

I’ve had professors who take attendance, but when it comes time to check my name off the list, there’s always a huge pause, a moment of hesitation. I immediately sense that it’s my name they’re struggling to pronounce. At first they’ll stutter, hoping to get it right and then make an attempt to say it. Some professors then ask me to pronounce it in hopes of avoiding embarrassment by saying it the wrong way. Honestly, I don’t blame them for glancing at my name and immediately filling up with anxiety.

There was one instance of an English professor who bravely attempted to call every student by their first and last name while handing back assignments. He didn’t ask anyone for clarification, and just went with what he thought was right, even he though completely butchered some of our names.

Attendance isn’t always dreadful. When teachers take attendance it makes students feel important. When your name is called you feel a moment of recognition, especially in the sometimes faceless world of university.

Attendance is not a mandatory procedure for professors in most classes so it’s their choice whether or not they want to take attendance. There is obviously no issue with taking attendance other than the fact that if you’re doing it, at least make an attempt to properly pronounce the names of students. Isn’t the point of taking attendance getting to know your students?