Help the Teachers Out

Wherever I travel to talk with parents of twins, I hear the ever-present complaint about teachers who cannot distinguish one twin from thee another. In fact, when parents read the teacher’s notes about each sibling, many parents realize that the teacher has no idea who is who. Apparently, the reports do not reflect the skills or personality traits of the twin who is supposedly being described. Twins’ families have trouble understanding why their children’s distinctness is lost on so many others. Since parents are attuned to the differences in their twins, they are incredulous that other people could struggle to recognize each sibling’s distinct identity.

Instead of blindly assuming that the teachers will eventually get it, I think parents should put more effort into distinguishing each twin. Dressing each child in a different color scheme is a common attempt to help others know who is who. However, adhering to a specific color can become annoying and restrictive as twins get older, and they will probably want to make their own clothing choices.

The most helpful visual cue would probably be different haircuts. Also, sending a list of identifying characteristics to the teacher beforehand can work as a handy reference. I am convinced that teachers want to know each child. They likely feel embarrassed that they cannot differentiate one twin from the other. They need to make the necessary effort to figure it out, and a little encouragement and assistance from the parents will make the teachers’ job easier.

Image courtesy of chintermeyer (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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