Professor never learns students’ names, calls them ‘boss,’ ‘chief,’ and ‘old sport’

Faith Breen, Contributing Writer

After his third week of attending office hours, John Friedman ’19 was frustrated to find that Professor Matthew Grienko of the English department still had not learned his name. During one-on-one appointments with Grienko, Friedman was greeted by terms of endearment like “old sport, chief, or boss.” He had accepted these nicknames as a friendly and casual way to break the ice and build a rapport with Grienko.

This past week, however, Friedman realized that Grienko had yet to learn any of his 12 students’ names after watching him hand back his own assignment to three different classmates.

“I thought he really liked me. Anytime I waved to him around campus he’d wave and say ‘How’s your day goin’, my man?’ which made it seem like he cared about me, you know?” Friedman said.

Other students were also surprised when they discovered their anonymity in such a small class. This revelation was followed by relief when they realized they could skip class with no penalty to their attendance or participation grades in the discussion-heavy course.

“I mean, there are three Johns in the class and only five guys, so John would have been a good enough guess,” John Whiteman ’20 said, another student in the class. Grienko responded to their surprise with a sincere apology.

“This is the first year since I started teaching that any of my students actually noticed that I didn’t know their names,” Grienko said. “They’re typically so charmed by my nicknames that they don’t even question it.”

Since writing this article, Grienko has promised his students that he would make some flashcards and learn all of their names by their midterm exam.

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