Mrs. Wheeler GQ Interview
I have been married to Curtis for 25 years; 3 kids I adore – Wesley (20), Jessica (19) and Jordan (16). We have lived in Boerne for 21 years. I have taught here at Geneva for 12.
One of my favorite stories to tell is how I came to Geneva to teach. My friend, Carol Jarvis had told me there was a Language Arts opening. I wished Geneva well at filling that position, but had NO INTENTION of returning to teaching. I was going to write children’s books once all my kids were in school. God knew better. When I read the job description, it was exactly what I had said would draw me back into teaching – if it could simply be part time and not EVERY DAY 8-3. To make a long story short (not my gift) before I walked into each of 3 interviews, I sat in my car and begged God to send someone more classically schooled, younger, better in every way, but was strictly obedient to the fact that I knew how to teach young teens to write, so I came. In my first interview with Mr. Ryden, he asked me why I wanted to come work at Geneva. Mind you, I had just promised to be completely myself and not try to put on anything untrue. I had to be honest. So I said, “I really don’t.” He looked only slightly surprised as Mr. Ryden is good at staying steady as a stone. He looked intrigued and asked what I would be doing if I did not come to work here, “OH! I have lists of things I need to complete – I have a couch that needs to be recovered, 10 years of scrapbooking, books to read…” and he snickered. And here I am today, years later, abundantly grateful that God did not let me ignore this place. I am also forever grateful for Mr. Ryden seeing more in me than I saw in myself.
1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
My idea of perfect happiness is a day with no agenda, but all my family together. I never get enough of them. I actually begrudge the beginning of school (even though I love it here) because I lose the free time with my favorite people.
2. What is your greatest fear?
My greatest fear –is losing my kids. Paralyzing terror in that. But less than that, I hate the dark. I take a flashlight with me to take out the trash.
3. What is the trait you most deplore in others?
The trait I most deplore in others is entitlement and disregard of opportunities, places and positions they have been granted. Smugness. I also cannot stand it when people talk during movies or public presentations, like assembly on Mondays…or in class.
4. What words or phrases do you most overuse?
I overuse the word “sweet” and the phrase “true story” is my latest favorite. Just ask Mr. Shelton, or Jordan.
5. What is a skill you wish you had?
I wish I had really learned to play guitar or piano. I love music.
6. What Fictional figure do you identify with best?
Fictional figure with whom I identify – that you people are familiar with – Susan from Narnia – a warrior for goodness, truth, purity – but also foolishly insecure sometimes. Totally relate to all that. I will go to the mat for someone else, but am not good at standing up for myself.
7. What is greatest regret in life?
My greatest regret is not learning to waterski or surf. I love the water, but not so much crowds at water areas; so hanging at the beach, I always like to find some place a little remote. That way I could get OUT ON THE water and away from the crowds too.
8. What is your greatest achievement in life?
My greatest achievement is not really mine. It is being given the opportunity and places where I get to share the gospel and hope of God – honestly. I can’t believe God trusts me with His truth and grants me the privilege of getting to share it with teenagers here, at church in Youth groups, at camps, at BSF – I love God and I love teenagers. I don’t want anyone who has had me as a teacher or mentor to not be told how Jesus loves them, died for them, and wants a relationship with them. That is from God because it is not what I had as a teenager. My heart was all over the place. Mostly in Def Leppard, Whitesnake, Bon Jovi, U2 and boys who were all wrong. Ahhaha
9. How would you like to die?
I would like to die like Elijah – taken up suddenly.
10. What would be your dream class to teach at Geneva?
I am actually teaching my dream subjects now. I love the conversations afforded me in 8th grade literature. I love 8th graders – just mature enough to have fun but on the edge of owning their education and their faith. I love thesis and the preparation it presents not only for college but for life. Seniors learn to manage time and then step into something as UNCOMFORTABLE as public speaking is for so many. Each senior gets to see God empower them to reach their potential. He blesses the work of each heart and mind. The ones who go after it hard are always rewarded. I love celebrating that with them and their families.
Photo by Ashton Landis