Classhack: These Are the Worst!

annoyingWe’ve posted about the value of icebreaker activities in opening a new class, but my students have helped me get more bang for the icebreaker buck. Searching for topics that would energize each small group during their brief—think two minutes—session, I proposed a list of “5 Worst Types of People to Have for a Classmate.” The students had already warmed up with “5 Best Movies of All Time” and “5 Tastiest Foods,” so they immediately began composing a list. The lists of “Worst Classmates” are remarkably consistent between groups and between classes. Sometimes, the students’ frankness has surprised me. Here are some of the invariable chart-toppers:

  1. The Know-It-All (this is by far the most common response)
  2. The Loudmouth
  3. The Stroll-in-Late Everyday person
  4. The Stroll-in-Late and Then Ask a Question the Teacher Just Answered person
  5. The Lazy Person
  6. The Whiner
  7. The Comment-on-Every-Point-the-Teacher-Makes person (subspecies of The Know-It-All??)
  8. The Stinky person (seriously…almost always appears)
  9. Negative Nancies

While everyone laughs as the lists are shared, it’s a knowing kind of laughter. Then I can say something like, “So I guess we won’t be seeing any of those people in this class, and we’ll all be tending to our personal hygiene on a daily basis.” Later in the term, if someone strays too close to becoming any of the people itemized above, someone can be heard to say, “Remember the list!” This has saved me no end of trouble.


One comment on “Classhack: These Are the Worst!

  1. kencasey99 says:

    on the stinky person–I can still remember the smell of “goat boy” who was in a class of a colleague and brought a certain ambience to the halls long after he had gone.

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