By Erin Murphy
By Erin Murphy
“When the best rulers achieve their purpose, their subjects claim the achievement as their own,” said Lao Tzu, the late father of Taoism. One may not obtain the knowledge to realize the great intensity of this quote until taking a World Religions class with Instructor Richard Mahon.
Mahon began his career at Riverside City College in spring of 1998 as a part time instructor and is currently a full time instructor of humanity classes. His main class is World Religions. Mahon teaches his classes with such passion for education that it may seem as if he was born with a natural calling to teach.
As many students can relate, the structure and immense restrictions of high school can be a definite turn-off to a higher education. Mahon ended high school in that state of mind.
“It was not until I enrolled into a community college that I realized a sense of responsibility and it was very liberating,” Mahon said.
After his time spent at a community college, Mahon transferred to UC Santa Cruz, where he studied History and World Religions. He then continued on to graduate school to become a teacher. Mahon strives on trying to give people appreciation for other religions and beliefs that they may otherwise never get.
Developing minds have a tendency to think that their personal beliefs are the only beliefs or the only right beliefs. Mahon’s World Religion classes broaden a student’s mind in numerous aspects; all of which are highly beneficial, especially in today’s rapidly changing society.
One unique fact about Mahon’s personal life, which is brought into his classes as a real life example is a coin toss. This is not just any coin toss; this coin toss determined who took whose last name in his marriage to his wife. In American culture, it is practiced that in marriage, the woman takes the man’s last name. Mahon felt that it should be equal between him and his wife.
“Young Americans take for granted how equal we are today, especially the role of women, said Mahon. “It is important to realize that it was not always like it is today and in many other religions women are still subordinate to men.”
Teaching at RCC has been adventure for Mahon. One of his favorite memories took place in the quad during a fast paced evening winter- intersession course.
A fire was the first of several disasters causing his class to unexpectedly switch class rooms.
“Every class seemed like it was in a different room,” Mahon said.
In spite of the disasters and changes Mahon’s students managed to find every location and still persevered with a desire to learn. That is one thing that Mahon admires about the students here at RCC.
“Students have a genuine curiosity for other religions,” Mahon said.
At RCC not only do the students have an enthusiasm for education, but so do the teachers. Mahon has taught at different schools throughout his teaching career and has admired the staff at RCC above any other school he has experienced.
“I really like how high the commitment and passion is within the faculty, they really care,” Mahon said.