Mrs. Lowe, Thanks making class so interesting for Nicole this year. We had a lot of fun discussions about a number of her assignments. Have a great summer.

We loved this year. I think Kayleigh is improving greatly. I can’t wait for next year. Thanks for everything you do, Emily!

My scores went up 180 points! I’m so happy! Thank you so much!

Mrs. Lowe - Thanks for being such a great teacher that puts up with my constant opinions. I hope I have you again.

Commencement. I’ve been thinking a lot about this word, having attended quite a few last month (one of the many reasons I never made it over here to let you know!)  It marks the end of something momentous: for my students, four years of studying, learning and growing up; for my sister, a decade of decisions, indecisions and redecisions; for me, too many semesters of slow, plodding progress toward a goal.

And now we’re finished.  Finally.  My sister has the piece of paper that will save her endless headaches trying to work overseas.  My students are at Senior Week, making up for all the responsible and moral decisions they made in my classroom.  And I am Officially A Teacher, pending sixteen weeks’ worth of paperwork from the good people at the Maryland State Department of Education.

But they don’t call it “finishment” or even “completement.” It’s called “commencement,” because as much as we think we are (want to be) finished, we are really just beginning.  We all have plans, but we also know they are just that — plans — and they will almost certainly change, most likely at the time and place we least expect them to.  There’s something oddly comforting about that, the way a neat stack of folded onesies belies the messes that will call them into service one by one.

For me, it means embracing what I have resisted for so long: commitment. Sure, I have done my job and done it well, I think. But now I will see what it’s like for the millions of teachers who get up early every single day, turn on the lights in their classrooms, and teach until the final bell. I’ll have a classroom. I’ll teach all day. And I’ll have a new challenge in a French class. That’s right: I get to be the one to teach them the joys of this language I have loved for so long. I still remember my first year of French in seventh grade, and how much I loved every minute of the teacher’s blend of careful instruction with goofy antics. They are huge shoes to fill.

But first I have my own French adventure to enjoy, starting tonight. My husband, who rarely asks me for anything, wants me to journal every day, and he bought me a new international smartphone to make the process easier.  So I guess we’ll be seeing a lot of each other in the next couple of weeks!