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Seeing double: Twin teachers in Forsyth County Schools have a lot in common

 
POSTED: February 21, 2017 4:30 p.m.
Micah Green/

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Ryan and Ross Wason have more in common than both being teachers in Forsyth County public schools. They have more in common than both having taught at Lambert High School at the same time. They even have more in common than being brothers. The twins have spent their lives both together and apart, developing similarities, differences and a knack for reading each other’s minds. Kind of.

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They both have a beard and glasses, styled the same. Both are 36 years old, have two daughters and wear their Forsyth County Schools ID badge clipped to the same school polo. One has a longhorn on the top left corner. The other, a grizzly bear.

They’re the same, but they’re different. It’s a back and forth that Ross and Ryan Wason have experienced their whole lives – well, except for that first four minutes when Ross was the only son in the family. Five minutes, if you ask Ross, “for rounding errors.”

The Wason brothers are more than that. You can tell who’s who, especially when they’re standing next to each other, but they look like more than just brothers.

“We’ve done things like getting our hair cut within a day of each other without having talked about it,” said Ross as he sits next to his twin in a teacher lounge at Lambert High School. He sits slightly more laid back in his chair than Ryan, mostly when he laughs at a jibe his brother makes or when he regales and anecdote about their past. Both have stories ready to tell, as if they’re both well-accustomed to talking about the fact that they’re twins. “We both took up golf pretty much around the same time, and when we went out and got our initial sets of clubs, we bought the same golf bag, just different colors. We both bought the exact same model of putter like within a month of each other.”

They didn’t share any stories about one breaking their arm and the other feeling it, but they did say people ask them if they can read each other’s minds.

“No,” Ross said, “but kind of.”

The similarities come with their share of positive and negative, like a constant ebb and flow of them trying to step closer together or individualize themselves.

Like in fourth grade when they tried to switch classes. “We were in fourth grade, so obviously we didn’t plan it very well,” Ross said. “Like I didn’t know where his seat was in class. I didn’t know his locker combination. And the kids in class were like go back to your class?”

They also struggled with creating their own identity as they grew up.

“Like we would try out for shows and for the same parts, and Ryan would get it because he was – air quotes – better than me. But I would struggle with that sometimes. I would look at it and say, ‘He’s the exact same thing as me.’ I would try to use that to my advantage. But then other times when I tried to be more of an individual, people would constantly try to associate him with me. And that’s really hard because I’m not him."

They actually spent a lot of time growing up near each other but separately, like parallels that never quite touch but also never veer off.

“I stuck a lot with chorus and theater and musical theater in high school. He branched out and did more band and a couple more sports opportunities,” Ryan said. “We had a couple of the same friends, but we also had friends that were different. One of my favorite recollections from our first semester of college is we spent so much time trying to be different, when we came back home for our first break, we looked exactly the same. Same hair, same face.”

Their worlds morphed into each other again in 2011 when Ryan got a job at Lambert as the choral teacher to help grow the program after the school opened with just one teacher for band and chorus. They worked at Lambert together, but separately – Ross taught AP human geography before becoming an assistant principal at Piney Grove Middle.

In all their time together and apart, they have come to terms with the idea that someone looks almost exactly like them but that they are their own person.

"To see the dichotomy between us is intriguing," Ryan said. "We both sing, we both have done theater in the past, we both play sports poorly. We both know how to laugh and, as you've seen here, be self-deprecating. I really admire how smart he is. And I know I can't do the job he does."

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