I am setting up my grade book.
It’s a crisp new grade book for a new semester and a new calendar year.
As I write each name, neatly, double-spaced, I look across the page to all the little boxes and lines. Each will be filled in with numbers and letters signifying…something. Most of these names I write are names of students I don’t know…yet.
By the time I fill in the final grades in May, the pages will be worn and a little dirty, a little food-stained. We will have a history, these 108 names and me. They will thrill me with their intelligence and/or frustrate me with their laziness and/or enrage me with their dishonesty. And, as they struggle with declaring a major contrary to their parents’ wishes, or they discover themselves pregnant, or they get arrested, or their parents die or divorce – or they do – some of them will break my heart.
But today the paper is crisp and clean and all of the bitter and the sweet lies ahead of us.