From Expelled Student to Beloved Teacher

Chris Mayclin found his passion through struggles and turned it into reality


Christie Yeung

The Arroyo High School Knights hosts incredible success stories among their educators.

“If you would have told me that I was going to be an English teacher when I was 17 years old, I would have laughed in your face,” the 45-year-old Arroyo High School English teacher said. “All my friends who knew me back then would’ve said ‘Chris? English teacher? That guy likes to skip school to get wasted.”

High school is where young adults explore their ambitions as they turn into goals that will shape their future. For a small percentage of students, however, high school is just a waste of time that holds you back from real fun and adventure. Chris Mayclin recalls struggling in high school, hanging out with the wrong crowd and what led him to find his true passion.

Mayclin spent most of his high school days writing music, getting wasted or fighting. In his senior year of high school, at 17, Mayclin was expelled for getting into brawls with various classmates. Mayclin ended up in continuation school.

Shortly after completing continuation school, he attended junior college. Mayclin faced many obstacles, especially finding the motivation and self-discipline to pass all of his classes. He quickly realized that going to college was much more difficult than he had imagined.

“My motivation was I didn’t want to end up a hopeless loser and I hung out with a few,” he said. “I didn’t want to be that way.”

He knew that in order to pass all his classes he had to find the right motivation and self-discipline.

“I know I was destined to be greater than being someone who did nothing,” Mayclin said.

It was in Mayclin’s love for music that he discovered he was very good at writing. It gave him the motivation to continue his education through English writing. Then it led him to decide that he wanted to become an English teacher.
Mayclin attended junior college for four years then transferred to Cal Poly Pomona, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in English. In 2002, he received his teaching credentials from the University of La Verne.

He is grateful for what his past had taught him, it helped to shape the way he teaches today.

“I couldn’t be my fun-loving, comedic self without them,” Mayclin said. “I have no regrets because everything that was supposed to happen happened in order for me to be where I am today.”

His love for his students and teaching has only grown stronger over the years and his story is a familiar one to many current and former students.

“If Mr. Mayclin hadn’t told me a story about some kid who was in my shoes only to find out that the story was about his own struggles,” 22-year-old former Arroyo High School student Michael Gomez said. “I wouldn’t be half a semester away from my bachelor’s degree.”

Mayclin’s past is not something that he wants anyone else to go through, but he hopes that being open about his past will give the next generation a better understanding on how struggling can quickly turn into an opportunity for a better future.

“He is one of our most beloved teachers here at Arroyo High School,” Arroyo High School Principal Gabriel Flores said. “His love for his students and their love for him is what makes him so special.”

Reaching what seems impossible can be as simple as putting pencil to paper.

It has been 20 years since Mayclin first became an educator and he continues his love of teaching at Arroyo High School with no plans to retire anytime soon.