First published in June of 2011. True then, just as true now…And worth a re-read too!!
As a teacher of high school seniors, come June, I am reminded daily of the almost-here graduation-day swiftly moving toward us. There is no them and me or me and them at this point, for we have all been riding on this roller-coaster of great expectations and harsh realities for an entire school year together. All over the country 18 year olds are experiencing this free-falling sensation…and I for one think it is a feeling worth catching on to, but I did not start out with this appreciation. No, I most certainly did not, in fact, I did my best to stay uninfected with what I, as well as most adults, labeled senior-itis.
This morning I woke feeling a bit off kilter. After eight days of being in a very intensive and regimented program of scoring AP English Literature essays, I suddenly had six undefined hours ahead of me before I needed to be at the airport, and my morning felt oddly stiff, like donning a new pair of shoes. I attempted to lay in bed but dawn called me out and up and lead me to wander beside the Ohio River, which snakes along the backside of Louisville, Kentucky.
As I arrive in Louisville for my 2nd annual reading of AP English Literature exams, I am greeted by a host of familiar faces and a few cherished friends. We are here to score Advanced Placement essays for the next seven days. Working from 8 until 5 among 12,000+ other readers. We will read each essay as if it were crafted by our prized students. We will read in silence, calibrate several times a day to keep our scores even, be periodically back-read by table leaders, who in turn are back-read by section leaders, all the way up the line to the chief reader.