Imagine a line of people twenty feet deep, people craning their necks and elbowing to try and get a better look. There is a buzz in the crowd, smiles, and screeches of joy. What could cause all this drama? Well, class lists of course.
As kids look at these lists each fall, the first thing they look for is for the name of their friends. Parents then begin asking around to gather information on their child’s teacher. They will ask, “How old is this teacher? How much homework does this teacher give? Did you like them as a teacher? Will we have a good year?” Like a political poll they’ll gather their “facts” and determine their opinion of the teacher.
Inside the school the class lists take on a different drama. Teachers want to look at your class list and tell you who their favorite and least favorite students are. On two different occasions today I had teachers come up to me and attempt to prepare me for a student on my list. They felt they needed to tell me about the student’s problems, quirks, overbearing parents and give me their sympathy. I’m sure they meant well, but I really would rather form my own opinions.
I’m sure that a great deal of thought has gone into the formation of my class list. The fourth grade teachers have divided up the class according to behavior, gender, and academic abilities. Our specialists have separated students who don’t get along, and administrators have made further adjustments to make their lives easier. For the most part, I have had little say in who will be entering my class on Monday. The position I have taken over the years is that each student is placed in my class for a reason. Sometimes it is because I am the best teacher to meet the needs of a student. Other times it is for a student to help me to grow in various areas of my life. By looking at my good and bad students and realizing that they have a purpose for being in my room, I can avoid the drama that comes from the biases of others. It also opens my eyes to the potential in every student. For me every student is a unique challenge that I have volunteered to take on each year.
The success of this year doesn’t depend on the names on my class list, but on the brief time we share over the next 180 days. So as I look at my class list this weekend, I’ll pray for each student and dream of all that we will achieve by the end of this year.
(In the comments below, please tell me some of the drama that you have seen take place from class lists?