Thursday, January 11, 2007

Tabula rasa

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.


jo(e) said...

You've captured this feeling perfectly.

I too am setting up a new grade book this weekend.

Bitty said...

At that moment I felt as if I were looking at the future and it brought me goosebumps...and to the blog.

Thank you for the kind words!

Alanna said...

Oh Bitty,

This is so true! I answered the phone in the middle of it, and now three students must be roll-called out of alphabetical order for sixteen weeks: truly the absent-minded professor!