I’ve never moved for a job and I’ve never moved for my husband’s job before. I know people do it all the time, across all career levels and different fields. Before this year we’ve always taken jobs that were near our home base.
So when my husband got a call to be an Offensive Coordinator for a good friend, we decided to uproot our family and move from the Dallas area to Small-Town-Middle-of-Nowhere-East-Texas. I was excited about our new family adventure!
We were able to purchase a beautiful old home. We started forming relationships at church, and we were so thrilled about the upcoming school year with all the small town bells and whistles. Our kids would be starting at the elementary school which connects to the Junior High, where I would be teaching. My husband, who began at the high school back in the Spring, would be right next door. What a blessing!
I was unprepared for all of the emotions that came with following my husband to a school where I knew no one and he knew plenty. He got a head start on me, and it left me feeling unexpectedly lonely.
Let me explain.
I left a school that I loved with my whole heart. My coworkers, the students, the school culture, and the all-around support of the district were very difficult to walk away from. I loved the subjects I taught and I was confident in my craft. I grew accustomed to knowing I was good at my job. Moving stripped all of that away.
When you’re a teacher married to a coach and you follow your husband to a new school, you are suddenly in his shadow when you’re used to standing in your own spotlight.
I found myself trying to be true to myself while also feeling like I was under scrutiny. I wanted to be seen and heard but more often than not I felt like a Nobody. I was wrestling with a major loss of identity. I found myself searching for ways to say, “I was important in my old life! I was Somebody!”
It’s important to know that no matter how warm and welcoming the new teachers and staff may be, you will mourn the loss of familiarity. When you move you need time to process your new setup.
The very last day at my previous school, a cherished colleague and friend looked me dead in the eye and told me, “Abbey, you have a light within you. No matter where you go, let it shine!”
The honesty and intensity in her voice shook me at the moment. I now see that the Lord was speaking to me through her.
We’re a few weeks into the new year and I have some adjustments to make. I still have some things to process, but I know who I am and I know my purpose. I know I am a great teacher.
I know there are students in this small town that need me as much as the students at my previous school. And I know that when I hear whistles and the shouting of my husband on the football field behind my classroom as I work late into the evening to prepare for the start of school, I am home. I will find my way to my light switch.