Kikori welcomes its newest team member, Analia Munoz, as our Content Crew Intern!
When Kikori Co-founder, Kendra Bostick, first met Analia Munoz, she knew that she was someone special and would be an incredible addition to the Kikori team.
This is Analia's Story
I grew up in Punta Arenas, the most southern tip of Chile. I attended an International Baccalaureate school, called the British School, which is where I learned English. More importantly, attending this school was special because I learned how to work together with others. I was never the best in academics but I was great at forming relationships.
My school didn’t have a lot of tests but was very project-based, and because of this, I was able to work together with people more. I still remember when I was a child learning about stoplights, we didn’t just read about them, we actually went to a park full of stoplights and played games while running around the park. Because I talk a lot, I made a lot of friends and this helped me grow as a person. My school had a lot of extracurriculars - soccer, volleyball, choir. All of those activities outside of academics helped me in academics. I got to have strong friendships and relationships with my teachers, and that made me feel safe asking questions and not being afraid of not knowing everything - which is a character flaw I have. Feeling safe and asking was something that was so important to me - this is something that I see is very different in public schools here in the United States.
I moved here to Louisiana when I was 16 with my family. That was a big change coming from what I think was a very open-minded community to a school where we were put into “boxes.” The other difference is I went from having 24 classmates to 500. I had a very hard time making friends, and I think if I saw any of my old teachers, I think only one would know my name. Teachers in high school don’t really have time to make relationships. Teachers wouldn’t learn my name - to many, I was just “Chile.” It took me about 2 years to have a lot of friends that I could hang out with. Sports were very competitive. I tried out with soccer and it was so competitive that I wasn’t able to play on the team.
It was going from having everything to not having access to anything because there was so much competition. The opportunities were there, but the change made my personality shrink.
When I was in my senior year in high school, I needed to figure out if I wanted to go back to Chile. Because my family is so important to me, I decided to stay here with my family. The only school that I applied to was LSU because most people attend in-state universities. I started in Engineering because I thought that would be the easiest way to stay in the United States after college. However, working with kids and forming a community was always so important to me. Because I had this hands-on, community-driven experience growing up, I wanted to become a teacher. I want to make sure kids have a happy experience growing up the same way that I did.
"I wanted to work at Kikori because I believe in their mission. I wanted to learn more about SEL and Experiential Education to be a better teacher in the future. Working at Kikori is one way I can start helping other teachers see the importance of SEL."
Why Analia Wants to Become a Teacher
Academics are important insofar as what society expects but what is really important is making sure kids grow up to be good people, empathize, and listen to all perspectives. Even more so, being in a southern state, people don’t always listen to each other and are stuck in their ways - people on both sides! I think that comes from not having an experience growing up in school learning teamwork.
If you ask my parents, I failed calculus twice and I had to figure out my life. But I think teaching is what I was always meant to do. I should have known sooner but this was my journey. I see how my siblings are going to school, and everything is very individualized. It works well for some things but for mental health, it doesn’t. I think kids in middle school wouldn’t be suffering as much as they are now if they were able to form strong relationships in their first five years of school. I think teachers get overlooked in how important their jobs are. Teachers aren’t just teaching kids how to add - they help with self-confidence, with everything! Not every family has all of the resources to take care of their kids, and teachers are there to create bonds and relationships.
That’s why I want to be a teacher. When I talk about how I am from South America, people don’t believe what privilege I had. But from the moment my mom was pregnant with me, she was surrounded by loving family who helped her. And I was able to attend the best school. Being a teacher is my gift that I want to give back.
How Analia is Making a Difference
Every summer since 2015 I’ve been going to Camp Ruby as a counselor. Camp Ruby is a one week camp in Mississippi for special needs adults. There’s usually three counselors per cabin and around 13 campers. We help them with anything they need help with, from getting dressed to eating and showering but most importantly we spend time with them as friends. We make sure they have the best time ever, with activities like archery, crafts, swimming, riding horses, mini golf and we finish every day with a dance party.
I work at the International Programs and Study Abroad office. I help Americans go abroad and I think it’s important that they experience the world through different cultures. You get a better perspective. I’m part of the International student association because I didn’t have the best experience coming here as an international student. I didn’t get to meet a lot of people. I got involved to know I was able to help new students.
While at Kikori, Analia will be helping us curate new team building activities and create experiential education curriculum for students learning English as a Second Language. We couldn't be more excited to have Analia on the team, and we hope that you will welcome her also!