Inside the Classroom

‘It Was A Bigger Jump For You’

What happens when a husband and wife give up their separate careers and become teachers in the same school district? One Houston couple did just that.

Back in Nashville, Ryan and Christina Beeler had totally different lives. He worked as a cop. She tutored students while pursuing a singing career. They ditched those jobs and moved to Houston two years ago.

Now they both teach in the Spring Branch Independent School District through Teach for America, which recruits recent college graduates to work in schools for two years. Ryan Beeler, 29, currently teaches environmental science while his wife Christina, 26, teaches English.

They talk about making that leap and what it’s meant for their relationship.

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Here’s a transcript of their conversation:

Christina Beeler: It was a bigger jump for you than for me going from, from a cop to a teacher.

Ryan Beeler: Just a little, just a little jump.

The reason I got into education was to help people before they got into the back seat of my police car, and hopefully get them on the right track to and through college.

Christina: I think the biggest thing that’s probably changed is that we talk about work so much. We have to like set ‘no teacher-talk’ boundaries so that we can remember that we have lives outside of teaching. 

I think it’s also different because we’re doing something together that we both feel so passionately about. I think it’s changed the dynamic between the two of us. I feel like we’re not just like husband and wife, we’re also a team trying to accomplish something in our community. And that’s been kind of a shift in our relationship. But it’s been really positive.

Ryan: Yes, I agree. I think that we both know what each other wants from teaching and this career and we can help each other achieve it and get there.

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Christina: Yeah, and it’s been different, too, because I love seeing you with the kids. It’s one of my favorite things now. Whenever I see you with the kids and see all the cool stuff you guys are doing, like, when you guys were doing that car wash to raise money for your trip, it was so inspiring to see you with those kids, and it made me so proud to be your wife. And I’ve always been proud to be your wife. But that was like a moment where I just felt really, really proud – seeing the great stuff you’re doing with the kids.

Ryan: Well, thank you. I’m glad that you said that.

Christina: If you had a do-over and you could see how teaching worked out, would you have still chosen this?

Ryan: Every day. I personally feel that working as a teacher, it’s a more impactful difference because I can see every day the impact that you’re making. You get that gratification at the end of the year when you see those kids walk across the stage. Whereas, a police officer — maybe you go take similar calls or go to the same address a couple of times a year. You’re working with those same kids day-in and day-out and you get to see them come into your classroom and change.

Christina: I think that, as your wife, you seem happier. You seem more fulfilled. I think that it’s been really great for you to be able to see these aren’t numbers in a statistical analysis of crime in the area. These are like actual kids and you get to know their families and you see their potential and then you help them reach it. And you’ve done such a great job as a teacher.

Ryan: So I know that in 10, 15 years that my students probably aren’t going to remember any of my environmental science lessons. But I want them to know that I taught them not only the skills to be successful, but taught them how to be better people. And overall, I always tell them, and they’ll always laugh, but I always say, ‘Be better today than yesterday and be better tomorrow than today.’ As long as you do that, and keep that trajectory, that nothing can stop you.

 

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Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for Houston Public Media, including K-12 and higher education. Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and contributed to South Florida’s NPR affiliate. Her work has also appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Reuters and Clarín in Argentina. Laura has won awards for...

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