In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, we caught up with Physical Education teachers and married couple Matthew Wheeler and Aryn Wheeler. Coach John Fahrner also jumped in and offered some words of wisdom.
What is it like to work at the same school as your spouse? What would you say are the best and worst parts?
Mrs. Wheeler: “We really don’t know anything different. We met at work; we met here when I started teaching. Mr Wheeler had already been teaching here. Some days we get to ride to work together, we get to eat lunch together every day, but we don’t really see each other that much though, because he’s in one part of the gym and I’m in another, and we have our off periods. It’s good because we do get to see each other everyday.”
Mr. Wheeler: “She flirts with me a lot at lunch. She gets really flirty at lunch when I’m trying to get work done, but I’m a professional.”
Mrs. Wheeler: “No, we have fun, we joke around. I enjoy working with him because I get to see him a lot more. There are some couples who go all day without seeing or talking to their spouses. We get to go over stuff or talk about something or decide who’s picking up the kids or who’s making dinner and who’s doing what when we get home.”
How did you two meet? How long have you been married?
Mrs. Wheeler: “I was teaching PE, and he were teaching Special Ed and coaching at the time, so he would hang out with Mr. Fahrner.”
Mr. Fahrner: “Oh yeah that’s a great story.”
Mrs. Wheeler: “He would come down and hang out with the coaches during lunch, and that’s how I started to get to know him, and also going to sporting events and stuff.”
Mr. Fahrner: “I thought he was coming to spend time with me!”
Mr. Wheeler: “Mr. Fahrner flirted with me a lot too.”
Mrs. Wheeler: “We kept it a secret for a while too. We didn’t let anyone know for a while. We got married about two years after I started working here. We let people know, and then we got married.”
Are there any hobbies you share outside of school?
Mrs. Wheeler: “We found out we actually live near each other, too, in the same town. So we knew of the same places, went to the same places, that sort of thing.”
Mr. Wheeler: “Our families were also very similar, since both our parents are teachers.”
Mrs. Wheeler: “We had a lot in common, so it was easy. There was a lot of stuff to talk about.”
Mr. Wheeler: “Her mom started flirting with me a lot.”
Mrs. Wheeler: “Stop! He thinks everyone flirts with him!”
Have you ever had a double date with another teacher couple?
Mr. Wheeler: “We’ve done a lot of stuff with—not other couples in school—but with teachers and their spouses, like at each other’s weddings and stuff.”
Mrs. Wheeler: “We hang out with a bunch of teachers outside of school, but not necessarily the other teacher couples. During our first couple years of marriage, there were five teacher couples here, at one point. There must be something in the water here!”
Mr. Wheeler: “I think it’s just spending so much time with the people you work with.”
Mrs. Wheeler: “And it’s enjoying that time too. We do stuff with other teachers outside too, and we have a lot of stuff in common.”
Mr. Wheeler: “The people here in this department, we’ve been working together about 10 years now? We’ve all known each other, we know each other’s families.”
What is the funniest experience you’ve had about working here together?
Mr. Wheeler: “It’s weird when you have students for half the year or a year and only now they’re like ‘You’re Mrs. Wheeler’s husband!’”
Mrs. Wheeler: “You’d think they’d know that, with us being in the same department. But most students think it’s just the same last name. We get that all the time.”
Mr. Wheeler: “And there’s a teacher named Wheeler at Julius West, so students think that he’s her husband.”
Mrs. Wheeler: “He used to coach football here too. So even if I say my husband works here, they still wouldn’t be able to tell.”
What, if any, romantic advice do you have for the students of RM?
Mr. Wheeler: “Look a friend before a romantic interest.”
Mrs. Wheeler: “It helps. Find someone with similarities to you and the friendship coming first makes it a good relationship.”
What are your favorite qualities about each other?
Mr. Wheeler: “I like that she’s laid back.”
Mrs. Wheeler: “Yeah, we’re both pretty laid back. When we first started dating, his commitment to family was important.”
Mr. Fahrner: “How could husband and wife get along working together? Everybody says it’s impossible. They haven’t changed one bit since they were dating, before they were dating, or after they were married. They haven’t changed. I think they like each other more.”
Mrs. Wheeler: “Have fun. That’s important. Have fun with one another.”
Mr. Wheeler: “You got to find time. That’s all there is to it.”
Featured photo by Mikhaila Estwick.