It appears that we have finally sorted out my string of A-named students. Nobody gets confused about them, except when Tatiana asks me whether I know where "Amal" is and I direct her to various shopping centres in Calgary.
However, despite my best efforts, I have ended up with three Mohameds in my class (plus the ones that I call something different). One is the original Mohamed, who introduced himself first during our initial meet-and-greet, and was thus allowed to retain his name.
The second Mohamed slipped past my defenses by merit of the fact that he wasn't there on the first day. When he arrived on the second day with rather low communication skills, I couldn't delay all the other students to try to explain to him that he couldn't be Mohamed.
The third Mohamed arrived about a month later as a perk of the fact that it's a continuous intake program. However, the receptionist assured me that his name was spelled with a U, not an O, so it wouldn't be a problem. I thought she would be right.
It turns out that while I am perfectly able to distinguish between my three Mohameds, calling them "Mohamed", "Mohamed +middle name", and "Moohamed", they themselves have no idea which one of them I just addressed.
As I was explaining to my aide the Mohamed situation, Mohamed #1 was heard to mutter "I gotta change my name."
He repeated the sentiment just a few days ago. "I think you just call me my last name," he requested after nobody proved to know which Mohamed was whose partner.
"Too late!" I replied. "It's the end of the semester. I can't change now! Maybe you can change next semester."
He sighed, shook his head, and listened once again to the contradictory beckons of his classmates.
“It ain't what they call you, it's what you answer to.”