Wedding Band Shopping

My fiancée and I were recently out wedding band shopping.

Quick break: are you like me, and instantly thought of musicians and not expensive pieces of jewelry? Glad to know I’m not alone. Aaaaand we’re back.

We went to a jewelry store we were both very comfortable with, and also where I bought her engagement ring. Both employees were busy helping other customers, so we browsed for a bit while we waited for some assistance.

Eventually, one of the employees finished with who he was helping, and walked over to us. We were in front of the female wedding band section. He asked what we were looking for, and if we wanted diamonds or not. She said yes, she did, and I said I did not want diamonds in mine.

We were quickly moved away from the female wedding bands, and over to the male wedding bands. I told him a couple had caught my eye earlier, and he pulled those down for me. I tried a few on, and he told me about how he had chosen a similar ring after he ran into some troubles with another style. I decided the last one I looked at was the one I liked the best, and he set that aside. He then turned to take care of a very quick transaction for someone else.

Meanwhile, my fiancée was moving back to the female wedding bands. There, the other employee was finishing up with the couple he was helping.

This employee was someone who knew us. He had met my fiancée before, and had heard about me. He started the conversation just by asking us how we were doing. Then we started looking at rings. He asked my fiancée what she liked, and pulled a few out for her to try on. And more than just try them on, he had her place her hand at her side, look away, and then look back. He wanted to make sure this was a ring she could see herself in — one that looked natural to her. When she would say something was not quite right, he would ask her what it was she liked and what it was she didn’t like about it, and made further suggestions from there. He was really doing everything in his expertise to make sure that he matched the right ring with the right person.

Eventually, she found the right ring. Then, he moved on to me. We went through a similar process, and I quickly discovered that I didn’t like the ring I looked at earlier at all. What a bad decision that would have been! We looked through a few, and eventually, I made my choice as well.

I think we looked at 17 rings all together. But at the end of the day, we each had exactly what we wanted.

 

Now, those of you who have read this blog before know that usually I’m talking about books or teaching or something like that. Those of you who are a bit more astute probably know where I’m heading with this. If you’ll permit me, I’m going to tell the same story, again, but I’m going to change a few phrases and words here and there.

 

We went to a bookstore we were both very comfortable with, and also where we had bought books before. Both employees were busy helping other customers, so we browsed for a bit while we waited for some assistance.

Eventually, one of the employees finished with who he was helping, and walked over to us. We were in front of the contemporary young adult section. He asked what we were looking for, and if we wanted kissy books or not. She said yes, she did, and I said I did not want that in mine.

We were quickly moved away from the contemporary young adult, and over to the science fiction. I told him a couple had caught my eye earlier, and he pulled those down for me. I read the covers of a few, and he told me about how he had chosen a similar book after he ran into some troubles with another genre. I decided the last one I looked at was the one I liked the best, and he set that aside. He then turned to take care of a very quick transaction for someone else.

Meanwhile, my fiancée was moving back to the contemporary young adult. There, the other employee was finishing up with the couple he was helping.

This employee was someone who knew us. He had met my fiancée before, and had heard about me. He started the conversation just by asking us how we were doing. Then we started looking at books. He asked my fiancée what she liked, and pulled a few out for her to look at. And more than just look at them, he had her nose through a few pages, smell the paper, and hold it in her hand for a few moments. He wanted to make sure this was a book she could see herself reading — one that seemed a natural fit to her. When she would say something was not quite right, he would ask her what it was she liked and what it was she didn’t like about it, and made further suggestions from there. He was really doing everything in his expertise to make sure that he matched the right book with the right person.

Eventually, she found the right book. Then, he moved on to me. We went through a similar process, and I quickly discovered that I didn’t like the book I looked at earlier at all. What a bad decision that would have been! We looked through a few, and eventually, I made my choice as well.

I think we looked at 17 books all together. But at the end of the day, we each had exactly what we wanted.

 

I’m not someone who needs help shopping for books. I know what I’m doing there. But I need a lot of help shopping for rings (and, as many who know me would attest to, for clothes as well!). I need an expert to guide me through the process and really help me make the right choice.

Our students in our classrooms or our libraries are just like me in a jewelry store. They might know they’re supposed to get something, and they see others really enjoying their choices, but they just don’t know how to do it. So which employee are we: the one who gives a few choices, based on what we’ve read and enjoyed? Or are we the one who takes some time to get to know our students, and help them make the right choice for them, no matter how many books it takes?

I know which jeweler I’ll be going back to see.

Why I Close My Door

A couple months ago, I posted about Why I Keep My Door Open. It was nice to notice about myself, and got some nice feedback from those who read this blog. Thanks to those of you who read it and talked with me about it.

But I have to remember that, while I’m here to provide a caring, warm, safe environment for my students, I’m also here to teach them academic subjects. Some might say that’s my primary role. Some might disagree with that, and there’s a discussion worth having there (sort of the “I teach English” v. “I teach students” debate). But regardless of where that role is, it’s nonetheless a hugely important one.

So I reminded my students that I am available for them to come by and get any extra help they need. I gave them the times I’m available, one of which was before school every day. I come in at around 7; school starts at 8:10. They have time to see me if they need to.

Nobody really took advantage of this. A few dropped in here and there, but nobody made an appointment.

But today, I had a student in. His mom and I arranged a standing 15-minute session every Tuesday morning, just to touch base and cement some of the things he struggles with. It’s been working pretty well.

Normally, when I help him, I ask any other students in the room to give us some space while we do our work. This is easily accomplished, as my classroom is a double room, so they could be 30 feet away and still in the safe morning environment they have.

So then I thought: what if I didn’t do that today? What if I gave this student and his academic needs the respect he and they deserve? And what if I showed that to my other students?

So I told my students they had to get out. I had an appointment to help a student. They left. I closed the door. I heard them tell other students who tried to come in “we have to stay out here; Mr. Wyzlic’s helping someone.”

I wasn’t sure how that would go. Would they be upset they didn’t have that place they normally go? Would they understand that, because I’m a math teacher, sometimes math will supersede their morning hangout place?

They went one better: they saw a chance to be respected.

They guarded my doors, not letting any students in, so we wouldn’t be disturbed while we worked. And today, during class, three of the students who often are around in the morning asked me, individually, if they could come in in the morning to get some help.

“Of course,” I replied, with a smile.