I speak and study dead languages. I can speak around five “living” ones with some proficiency. (Yes, people still like to delve into Ancient Greek and Latin.) But trust me, I have a niche for technology, too. (I’m not totally stuck in BCE times, you know). I used to worked as an IT Support Specialist for an insurance company. I’ve done grant writing for museums; served on boards and boards. Basically, anything you can think of, I’ve probably done once. I sing, have taken piano lessons for ten years, and play the flute.  I love (of course, less than dead languages) to study law, policy, psychology, and economics, but most of all, I love education: especially teaching.

It’s not common that you find a high schooler with such, eccentric, passions to begin with–let alone one wanting to go into education? Weird. The students that take Latin in high school usually do it for their future medical or legal careers, not because they want to eventually teach it. Well, then again, most of the boys take Latin at my school because the girls from all-girls school can come over to my school, the all-boys one, and take it, too. I digress. But the point is no one takes Latin because they want to teach it.

I am often hounded with the question from my family and friends alike: “Why education? Why teaching? You have brains to be a lawyer; a doctor! Put that Latin to use! There’s no money in education.” To which I used my canned response of “I’m not in it for the money.” (Then there’s always the “who’s gonna date a teacher?” Which is just a total confidence booster.)

If I had the time to explain to my family and friends why I want to teach, an honest response would look like this:

I am not going into education for the money. I am not going into education for the glory. I am not going into education for its ease. I am going into education because what I see isn’t working. I am going into education because the promises I hear aren’t being kept. I am going into education because it’s time for a revitalization, a rejuvenation, and a reinvigoration that will bring our students back to the top, our educators back to the classroom, and our economy back to stability.

I want to teach because of the astounding effects that a quality education can have on a student and a society. I want to cultivate well rounded high school graduates that will turn into well rounded citizens. I want to ignite a generation of critical and innovative thinkers that will shape our future. I want to teach to make a difference in lives. I want to teach to be the catalyst of change.

Radical change starts with radical people.  Be radical; be different. Be the change.

As educators, we do not just shape minds, we shape children. But, as educators, we do not merely shape children, we shape the future.

Richard “Lennon” Audrain is a junior at Brophy College Preparatory and is pursing an associate’s degree in elementary education in addition to his high school diploma. He works at St. Gregory Catholic School in their extended day program, while also serving on their Board. In the community, Audrain chairs the Anti-Distracted Driving Campaign for the Arizona Governor’s Youth Commission, directs education at the African American Multicultural Museum, serves as the executive secretary of the Youth Ambassadors Association, and is vice president of public relations for Educators Rising Arizona.

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