Strength in Personal Truth

September 11, 2014 at 12:56 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
Strength in Personal Truth, Original Word Cloud by Xavier Munoz

Strength in Personal Truth, Original Word Cloud by Xavier Munoz

I was honored many times this service year to speak about my AmeriCorps experience at events like the Virginia AmeriCorps Statewide Launch and the White House Cesar Chavez Champions of Change ceremony. Each event encouraged me to take more responsibility for raising the visibility and reputation of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia. In my day-to-day role at LCNV, I teach classes, support volunteers and help with a variety of projects. Those speaking opportunities reminded me that I can do so much more, that I can effect change more broadly. But as that sense of responsibility has grown, so, too, has the need to keep hold of my own truth.

Whether it’s giving a speech or teaching a class, I realize now that there’s always an element of performance and display. But there were moments while preparing for my speeches when I couldn’t distinguish between ideas that others would expect and hope me to say and ideas that I personally held. As someone who in the past has been paralyzed by expectation, I consider this distinction of ideas to be personally relevant.

One such idea relates to if there is a connection between the immigrant background of my family and the students I now serve. Yes, my parents immigrated to this country, and their experiences have undoubtedly contributed to how I am today. Yes, my AmeriCorps position at LCNV enables me to teach English to adult immigrants. But, rather than joining to give back to immigrant communities specifically, I committed to AmeriCorps because it was an opportunity for an intensive experience doing something in which I had a budding interest and in an area of the country brimming with a spirit of service.

A second such idea relates to if I consider teaching to be my passion. Prior to tutoring adult basic literacy two years ago in Tampa, I only ever entertained the idea of teaching as a way to travel abroad. My background is in how language operates in the mind. Teaching English to speakers of other languages makes that background come alive. Each student’s language learning journey is a challenging puzzle that never ceases to excite. Classes in which students are engaged and participating energize me. Classes in which I’ve left students lost and frustrated leave me searching for solutions. Call it semantics, but, for me, teaching is more a fascinating exercise.

Looking back on a year full of speaking events and conference presentations, I now value the opportunity I have to be a voice of change for LCNV and AmeriCorps. But, if asked to convince someone to join, I would just share my story – why I came to serve and how service develops my interests and informs my path forward. After two years of getting to know fellow AmeriCorps members at LCNV, Loudoun Literacy Council, BEACON for Adult Literacy and other organizations, I believe that our most compelling stories are the ones we live.

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Xavier Munoz
AmeriCorps Classroom Instructor
Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Road
Falls Church, VA 22042

1 Comment

  1. What a lovely and personal reflection about teaching and service. There is often so much discussion about the measurable in education and this captures the spirit and synergy that can happen when students and teachers engage in learning that cannot easily be quantified.


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