When my husband and I first began the discussions of our major relocation from small town Maine to big city Nashville, we thought we were prepared. We had listed everything we were giving up — being near my large family, a small intimate school community where I was able to be in the same building as my kids, and perhaps even being a band director or music teacher, or teaching the age group I loved.
The first year I worked as a technology aide in an elementary school in a city 45 minutes without traffic on the other side of Nashville from where we lived. As in we lived in a suburb NORTH of Nashville, and the school was in a suburb SOUTH of Nashville. But even though I wasn’t teaching music, and I was not around my beloved middle and high school students, I WAS able to be in the same building with my then 3rd grader and Pre-Kindergartener. That was a flat out answer-from-God miracle that didn’t come until after the cries of desperation had dried, and until just moments before the school year began.
After that year, we moved to a suburb southeast of the city. On a map it looks like it would have been so much closer to the school we were attending, but in reality, NO WAY JOSE. The thought of another year with a terrible commute made me want to cry.
I applied for teaching/technology positions in our new county, and realized how close we now were to Murfreesboro – the largest suburb south of Nashville, and home to Middle Tennessee State University. I had never even looked at private schools in Murfreesboro before we moved because we were moving north of Nasvhville, and it was simply too far. So on Thursday, July 17th, 2015, I searched for private schools in Murfreesboro. I found several amazing Christian schools, and one of them just happened to have an opening for a part-time Upper School Music Teacher (grades 6-12). Yes — my heart’s favorite age group, and my passion — all in one — at a CHRISTIAN school.
I emailed my resume to the principal, and by Saturday, July 18th, I was signing a contract, enrolling my boys in school there, and on Monday, July 20th, I attended the first day of our year opening in-service week.
Fast forward to yesterday. A sweet student of mine walks with me down my hallway before class. “Mrs. Duke, you’re a really good teacher.” When I asked why he said that today, he said, “You’re not just my teacher. You’re my friend.” And my heart sang.
My heart is home here. I have students I adore, I am teaching music and leading a middle and high school praise band. My sons attend this amazing school, and the community is such a blessing, every day.
I cry at morning prayer, where the faculty and staff gather each morning. I cried in parent-teacher conferences (out of gratitude, I promise!!), and I cry whenever I think of how lucky I am to teach there, and how blessed I am that my boys attend there!
My heart is home.