School’s a grab-bag. Elementary school, high school, or university, it doesn’t matter. Those neat rows of desks might make it look like there’s some uniformity to a class, but by the time the syllabus is being passed around, before the teacher can even take attendance, true natures are starting to show. And it can be better than the Discovery Channel. Just a few of the more common taxonomies:

  1. The Lawyer: This student rarely raises their hand, they just start talking when they have to disagree. Which is frequently. Widely but shallowly educated, they delight in debating the teacher and every other student on anything that disagrees with their trivia-level self-education. Favorite quote: “Sorry to play the devil’s advocate, but…”
  2. The Sleep Study: This student slinks into the back of the first class of the day, sets their backpack on the desk and their head on their backpack, and goes right back to sleep. Occasionally you can witness them making a masterful effort to keep their eyes open, but it just looks painful. Favorite quote: “… uh? What was the question?”
  3. The Gourmand: This student’s backpack is full of more food than books. And all of it is packaged in ways that crinkle, pop, or hiss. At least they’re usually willing to share. Favorite quote: “Sorry, let me wipe that off your books…”
  4. The Spare Professor: Mostly exclusive to college, this student is older than most of you and thinks their age puts them on a tier with the teacher, above all you young-uns. Gets even more awkward when they’re older than the teacher. Their extended contributions dominate discussion and their briefcase is a tripping hazard. Favorite quote: “In my day…”
  5. The Sniper: This student sat near the door on the first day of class and hasn’t been seen since. They’re going to show up only to ace their midterm and final, negating all their missed assignments and group work and getting a better grade than you. Favorite quote: “No, I really am in this class, check the roster.”
  6. The Manager: This student is a mixed blessing. If you do group work, this student will take on all the pressure of figuring out who does what. Downside: your choices are to do it their way or face an entire semester of passive aggressive blame for the group’s B+. Favorite quote: “I’ve booked a study room for us at the library.”

Just a tiny sampling, obviously. The classroom ecosystem is vast and infinitely varied. And don’t think for a second that someone you share a class with hasn’t classified you, too.