I shouldn't have.
I knew better.
In fact, I can't even explain or recall why I did it in the first place. But I was immediately remorseful.
This was the first year I received my students' profile sheets filled out by their kindergarten teachers. And I read them.
Unfortunately, some adjectives don't buoy confidence. The ones I remember poked holes in the building anticipation I felt for the upcoming year.
Heaviness, and maybe even a bit of dread, were left in its absence.
Yes, I knew better.
Over the years I've made an intentional choice to avoid cumulative files and even detailed conversations with past teachers before the first days of school. Though there are times when a teacher shouldn't go into a situation blind, for the most part, a fresh start and a clean slate are more important than who those students were in a previous class.
By reading the profile sheets from kindergarten, I essentially stole a golden opportunity from my students. (Fortunately, I have a terrible memory. I'm counting on that memory to help me forget everything I read.)
On Monday when all my new friends arrive at our classroom door, I plan to offer them a gift - maybe the most precious one I can give. I'll give them the chance to answer this question. "Who are you?"