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I AM: Grateful for my teachers

Thank you for everything you do. My inspiration to spread love with intergenerational media education #ontheway to a brighter future is only possible because of my teachers. I must confess I was never a perfect student but if you knew me, you could see that my pursuit of the ‘good-student’ image was often debilitating. Constructivist learning theories acknowledge that it helps a student know when they're performing well: all I know is being reassured helped me trust myself and what I was doing. Having had teachers and mentors nourish my perspective and voice allowed me to achieve and believe in the great possibilities that I’ve been manifesting this year–despite the uncertainty and chaos of my personal life.

I AM grateful for the mentors, peer-mentors, aunts/uncles, teachers, preachers. motivational speakers, storytellers, journalists, protagonists and villains, educators (in every shape and form) that have helped me re-write and polish my inner-dialogue. With a greater sense of duality–yin & yang, light & dark, day & night, love & fear–I’ve learned to simply notice and acknowledge any imbalance of the two. I've learned not to judge myself or others for our nature. I’ve learned to slow down the part of me that places judgment on my observations and I want to thank many of my teachers for helping introduce kinder phrases, words, and confidence boosters that still echo in my head to this day. The teachers that directly or indirectly encourage me to spread love, not the virus.

The whole reason I have the opportunity, will, and drive to pursue my career as a filmmaker and intergenerational media educator is because I had teachers who taught me how to get lit! My literacy for media and human experiences started on the stage; my drama instructors and teaching artists gave me the tools and guidance to get deep with characters and stories. With the tools in my hands, all I needed was patience, at times an extension, or a “you’re on the right path,” “you’ve gotta knack for x,” and a “no worries, you’ll get better with y.” I was encouraged to believe I was smart and I did... until I didn't.

At some point I misinterpreted the American Dream (like many of us do); my social anxiety often confused me and mislead me – keeping my struggle silent. I spent a good portion of the past 6-7 years in deep isolation. Yet, being a bridge between Gen Z and millennials, I know how our relationship with tech can both help and hurt our ability to get ourselves the help we need and talk about what's going on. So I'm personally inviting my teachers to be #ontheway and be open and honest about the kind of support they need to better serve their students.

At the core of being #ontheway is maintaining a foundation of love (I AM) and literacy (Let'sGetLit) as we prepare to Cre8 and share our own messages (love + literacy => #spreadlovenotthevirus). This equation I believe is best represented in Walt Whitman’s poem O Me! O Life!

“Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring...
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?
That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.”

Finally, I wanted to thank everyone for their own inner-teacher. My desire to foster a platform and community– like OTWay.Media –to help folks nourish their inner-educator is just to remind everyone that we all have the ability to create knowledge. We are not passive, we do not accept every piece of knowledge we are fed; instead, our minds have the power to chew information over–– this is how we teach ourselves and each other how to be more mindful about what we put in our bodies and mind. The better we get at helping others, help others–with love and literacy–the quicker we and our communities will get to our desired destinations. Even if we never get there, we can allow ourselves the opportunity to enjoy the process of being #ontheway, together.

I'm writing this to personally invite any of my formal and informal teachers on an exclusive #ontheway trial run. It's an opportunity to catch up and a chance to contribute a verse.

If you're curious enough about love, literacy, and encouraging the young people in your life to #SpreadLoveNotTheVirus, email me at, with the following subject (Let's Cre8: your name), and we will arrange a time to talk when convenient for you.


Josué “Manny” Muñoz


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