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.

3 comments:

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!

Alanna