Today, the first Tuesday after Labor Day, is my “Teacher Anniversary.” The true celebration begins when the bell rings. A new class of children will be invited to learn with me and to love the world with me. It is the blind date of all blind dates. It is an arranged marriage that turns into a love match every year. We will be together for 180 days; at the end they will tell me that I seemed strict at first, but that it turned out I wasn’t. They will say that the writing was hard at first, but that it turned out it wasn’t. They will say that they wish we weren’t done. And I will remind them that we don’t have to be; Lindsay, who is doing her senior internship with us, was once a third grader in Room 204.
I will be the matchmaker of books and children; they will learn to trust my choices and then they will learn to trust their own. Their stories will unfold and be written and shared and told. They will leave as deep readers and writers.
Thirty-three years ago, on the Tuesday after Labor Day, I walked into my own classroom for the first time. Twenty-one of those years have been in Room 204 at William Fox Elementary. Fox has its own big celebration today: it opened its doors one hundred years ago. We have a lot to celebrate. A new group of third graders is invited. It starts when the bell rings.