Monday, June 15, 2009

No Binder Left Behind

Today my students took their English binders home. Every class period was super-chaotic: I was handing back some assignments I'd graded at the last minute and some that I'd held on to because they were so good. In the meantime, kids were adding up how many pages and books they'd read this year (a new individual record was set: 40,241 pages-- that's over 1000 pages per week, higher than any student I've ever taught) and organizing for that final binder check. Those who finished early willingly helped their classmates put their notebooks in order. There was a lot of chatter in the room as kids revisited a school year's worth of work. One girl brought me her two-inch binder stuffed with poems, reading logs, ideas and writing pieces, "Look how full this is," she told me. "I can't believe it was totally empty in September-- wait 'til I show my parents!

I was proud of my students and proud of my class, too. We start from nil and build knowledge, understanding and skills day by day and page by page, and at the end of the year, each binder represents a significant achievement. In so many ways, it is hard to let them all go, but I felt a strong sense of satisfaction today when the last student left (late, with a pass, because he just couldn't get it all put together without a little extra time) and I pulled each storage drawer open, one by one, and found them empty of the jumbled stacks of binders and loose papers that they usually contain. All set for next year, I thought.


  1. *hug* those bittersweet moments are the toughies

    congrats on another good year

  2. At the end of every undergraduate writing class, I would gather up all my work, take it over to Kinko's and get it tape bound. Then I would get out my white-out marker pen and write the semester and the year on it. They are some of my best treasures. I think your students are beyond lucky to have you for a teacher.