FCPS Alum Fulfills Dream of Becoming Teacher


Sam Brunner, Copy Editor

Luc Nguyen has wanted to be an English teacher since the third grade. As the only other Vietnamese-speaking student in his school, Nguyen was paired with a new second grader who didn’t know any English. Being able to naturally guide his younger peer, he found that teaching was meant for him.
“I remember being really excited because I always knew I had this willingness to explain things to people,” Nguyen said. “I always knew I was really patient and that I liked being in that role of mentor and teacher.”
Nguyen spent his high school years in Fairfax County attending Woodson High School, later going on to graduate from William & Mary. With years of experience working with daycare-aged children throughout college and after graduating, Nguyen finds excitement in bringing his personal touch to the classroom in his first year teaching English 11 and 12 at Chantilly.
“I would cull down my passion to three main areas,” Nguyen said. “Children, education and writing.”
Nguyen is proud to be at Chantilly, promoting more representation in the hopes that students can find comfort in seeing someone like themselves.
“I don’t know if you could tell, but I am a person of color,” Nguyen said. “I want to demonstrate to my students, ‘Hey, you’re Asian, you’re a boy, and I know societal standards say you are supposed to be an engineer or a doctor, but I’m an English teacher and I’m fine.’”
Nguyen is not the only one who believes in the importance of diversity and representation. His colleagues in the English department strongly support his endeavors.
“I think it is extraordinarily important, in this day and age, to hire more diverse people,” English department chair Mary Kay Downes said.
From having “Fun Fridays” with his students in which he plans activities and puzzles to ease the stress of the week, to dancing in the hallway, Nguyen embodies Chantilly spirit with refreshing vigor.
“He reminds me of myself when I was a beginning teacher; he’s enthusiastic and experimental,” Downes said.
Nguyen consistently puts in an effort to go above and beyond for his students in and out of the classroom.
“He checks in on our school lives and takes the time to check in on our personal lives as well,” senior Lily Black said. “He’s always looking out for us.”
In only a few months, Nguyen has made a home for himself here and cares greatly about his students.
“You think statistically that out of 150 students, there’s got to be one, ‘Oh that kid, I can’t stand him,’” Nguyen said. “But I can’t think of a single student I actively dislike.”
It seems that Nguyen has a bright future working with Chantilly students and bringing more diversity to the school, along with some pretty amazing dance moves.
“He cares about us,” Black said. “He embodies what teaching should be about.”