MEET THE COACH

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Before the school year begins I spend a day under the florescent lights of a high school classroom. My husband, the former engineer, just entered his fourth year as a teacher. He's an AP Physics teacher at Red Oak High School, and this year he's also the head golf coach. And I am his decorator.

I spent an inordinate time hunting for posters for his classroom. I'm glad I did because I finally found a graphic artist who creates posters, and some are inspired by physics concepts. More than posters, Justin Van Genderen's work is art and understandably expensive on a teacher's salary. But when I asked for a discount he responded quickly and generously.

Everyone said that the first year of teaching would be hard but that it would get better. My husband started off teaching geometry but mid-year he was given the AP Physics class. It was a great opportunity for him but it was hard for the family to adjust to his new schedule. To be fair, we also entered a challenging season overall. Along with his career change, we squeezed in a move as well as a new baby. That hard year got harder when my uncle passed away, and when our baby girl turned six months old, my parents moved in with us.

My dad's health was declining, quickly. In the last three months of my dad's life, my husband poured his energy into his kids at school, and then he came home to his kids and his in-laws and his wife. Somehow he managed to give us every ounce of energy he had left. He helped us lift my father in and out of his wheelchair. He changed my daughter's diapers. He helped me give my dad a shower. He even helped my dad go to the bathroom.

I married a good man.

But I also married a good teacher. Well, actually I married an engineer. And I really liked being married to an engineer. That engineer made really good money that afforded us vacations to Hawaii and nice cars and other luxuries. I didn't want him to change his career path, and certainly not for a teacher's paycheck. But after being the resistance, I finally relented only because it seemed God was in it.

My relenting was just that though. Relenting. Not really supporting. And I resented that he had to stay late for kids to retake tests or work on Saturdays to stay on top of grading. And when he began coaching I even calculated the hours against his pay. It equated to a dollar and some change. Coaching seemed to be nothing more than a glorified hobby.

Then I met a woman who was also a coach's wife. Her husband coached football. At the time Shayne was helping out the basketball team. I measured myself against her, a godly woman who loved, supported and honored her husband – and his career path. I decided that I wanted to be more like her and God's grace begin working in me.

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I was thinking about all of this while I decorated his classroom this year. If my husband was called to impact the next generation, then they all deserved an inspiring classroom to work in. I have more questions than ever now that we've had the opportunity to understand the education system first hand. Teaching takes patience, time management, project management, self-discipline and an endless reservoir of self-control – for teachers and their spouses.  

I've no doubt that Shayne's can do it. And in the meantime, my heart continues to soften towards this new life.


UPDATE

After four years teaching AP and Pre-AP Physics, my husband decided to become a stay-at-home dad. It's a huge change for us but one that comes right as our son enters kindergarten. In this new season, Shayne will be able to help lead and teach our kiddos. In addition, if you are looking for a tutor who specialized in Pre-AP and AP Physics, contact us today!