Teacher drums up passion for psychology, history
Teaching was not Anouxa Vixathep's childhood dream.
After moving to the United states from Thailand at 4 years old, he initially preferred hitting a drum to the books. As a kid growing up in Portland, he thought he might go into law enforcement.
"I never planned on teaching," he admitted. "I wanted to be an FBI agent, probably because of the show 'The X-Files' more than anything."
A "great" high school teacher first inspired him to pursue psychology, which he studied in college.
"I always knew I wanted to study psych," he explained. "I just didn't know which route that would take me."
Still uncertain of his calling, he spent several years touring with his rock band Funnel around the West Coast after receiving his bachelor's degrees in psychology and sociology from the University of Oregon.
It wasn't until Vixathep's first experience leading a team on the track as an assistant coach that a career as an educator entered his mind. After that, he headed to Concordia University for a master's degree in teaching.
"My favorite part about teaching is building relationships with the kids," he explained. "I enjoy when they learn something. I love moments when students who didn't think they could do it pass a class."
After receiving his master's degree, Vixathep found a fast home at Sandy High School and has remained there for the past 16 years. He now teaches classes in both psychology and world history.
"It's my first teaching job, and hopefully it will be my last teaching job too," he said.
When he's not taking students around the globe with their studies, Vixathep enjoys traveling with his wife and three children. With kids in tow, the 41-year-old also likes to fish, run, cycle and spend some time keeping up his drumming chops.
He boasts that his young children "have been in more countries now than most people."
"During the summertime we call that family time," he said.