On the first day of world history class this year at Foster High School, students filed into Andy Giron’s classroom to find someone unexpected: a relatively young teacher compared to the rest of the faculty, playing music, dancing and dropping beats. His inviting smile radiated excitement.
Growing up, however, Giron never found school very appealing. "I really got screwed over by – I wouldn't necessarily say my teachers – the idea of school, the system of school, the institution of public education," Giron said.
High school just never clicked for him. In college he came to a crossroads and began to add together the pieces. "Working with students or kids, or something like that was where I needed to be,” he said. “And it really felt like the classic cliche of a light switch turning on in your head."
He found his calling. He wanted to be a teacher, to make a difference and be there for kids going through the experience of his youth.
"I know I'm just one person," Giron said, "but if one person doesn't do something, then nobody's going to do anything."
Teaching is his passion. He said it gave him something that he lost when he was a kid. "Joy. Enthusiasm. Happiness. Not saying that I wasn't happy or joyful throughout my life, but it's a different kind,” Giron said. “It's a deep-rooted, soul-bearing flame that was almost out. But that got re-ignited."
RadioActive is KUOW's program for high school students. This story was produced in RadioActive’s Fall Workshop in partnership with Neighborhood House - High Point Center. Listen to RadioActive stories, subscribe to the RadioActive podcast and stay in touch on Facebook.