My twin and I were in separate classrooms in school. Our joint math lesson made me realize how silly that was.

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My twin and I were in separate classrooms in school. Our joint math lesson made me realize how silly that was.
The author (right) and her brother.Courtesy of the author
  • After moving from Canada to the US, my twin brother and I were placed in separate classes.
  • In 11th grade, we were placed in the same class, sitting closer together as the year went by.
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I wasn't sure how to solve the precalculus problem, so I went to a classmate to talk it over: my twin brother.

Since we moved to the United States from Canada for first grade, my twin brother and I had separate classes. That was, until 11th grade. I was already seated in the classroom on the first day of class, early like I always am. My brother appeared at the door, looked at his schedule to make sure he was in the right place, and then sat down too.

Someway in the middle of the year, our teacher said he's had siblings in the same class before, but we were unique in the fact that we would occasionally bicker over solving the problems. Our assigned seating moved closer and closer together as the year progressed.

Twins are often separated at school in the US

Across the United States, policies for separating twins in classrooms are common in many school districts. The so-called reasoning is that twins should form some independence from each other and develop social relationships with other classmates. But, there is not a lot of evidence that twins sharing classrooms is harmful.

For example, a May 2021 study published in the Educational Policy journal looked at the classroom placement of over 500 pairs of twins who were between 5 and 12 years old. The Université de Sherbrooke researchers — in Canada, where my brother and I are originally from — did not find that sharing twin sharing classrooms negatively impacted their social development. In fact, the researchers found "evidence that educating twins together is associated with modest positive twins' behaviors and social functioning at school."

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We were in the same class in Canada

My twin and I were in the same class in kindergarten, although our elementary school only had one kindergarten class in Canada. I do not remember how we treated each other in class, just that it was winter a lot. Being born in Winnipeg, my remembrance of there being a lot of snow is probably not that surprising.

Particularly who thinks twins should be separated in class is also interesting. A January 2014 study also published the Educational Policy journal surveyed principals, teachers, parents, and twins about what they think about twins being separated in kindergarten. The only group that had a majority of people thinking twins should be separated in kindergarten were principals.

"It is, more likely, simply indicative of a healthy, supportive relationship," Dr. Lynn Melby Gordon said on twins wanting to be in the same class, in a press release about her study's results.

We had fun being in the same class

From being in the same class, my twin and I also witnessed each other engaging positively and, in some cases, funnily with other people.

For instance, on a day either before break or at the end of a quarter, our class was playing Scattergories. We were given the letter "S" and were told to give a reason why someone would be late for school. I, in my naive mind, despite already being a high school junior, put "stoned," thinking someone would be late if rocks were being thrown at them. That's not what my classmates, including my brother and my teacher, thought. Everyone laughed, though.

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Having a class together in high school was also a way to share an activity together, given we had no shared extracurricular activities before we went to university. Outside of academics, my life was consumed by being part of the school newspaper and also a costume designer for my high school theater company. During the height of theater production season, I was rarely even home for dinner.

Eight years after the class ended, I do not remember much of the precalculus (apologies to my math teacher), but I do know I was not in any way harmed by sharing a class with my twin.

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