It's interesting to see the different mnemonics for greater-than/less-than. The way I learned it was simply that the arrow always points at the smaller side.to me actualy the sign is a mnemonic, so I am surprisded that people need another one.
Many people don't readily absorb new signs and symbols. To some people mathematical abbreviations (and presumably other signs) are readily absorbed, to many many people something completely new induces panic and a mnemonic can ease them over that hump. Add to that the number of students who already don't understand maths readily and are thinking "WHAT!? They're writing new LETTERS now? What?!" Again, relating it to something familiar can help them to feel more comfortable with it.
I wonder if you are a visual learner, as often I find they are the ones who absorb new symbols more easily.
I'm very much a kinetic learner, and when I was very young in elementary school my teacher taught us a great tool. She had us draw the signs, then draw teeth inside them, just the standard triangle teeth. She explained that crocodiles were very greedy and very hungry and their mouths were always poised to eat the bigger number because there was more of it. I think this must have been before 5th grade, as I was still in parochial school at the time.
On my first homework assignment, I turned every single one into a rudimenatry crocodile. My teacher said she appreciated the creativity, but I really should try to stick to strictly mathematical symbols, but I never forgot the hungry crocodile.