a photograph by Nancy Wozniak
While cleaning out my garage and sorting through boxes of old notebooks and papers from graduate school, I found a note that I had scribbled in my research binder, “Love the unlovely. That’s a true test of your ability to love. Teach those that are deemed unteachable. That’s the true test of your ability to teach.” Good words to self. I wrote those words while finalizing my thesis paper and teaching at an urban community college in Cleveland, Ohio. I was exhausted and wondering why I was putting myself through all the stress. Simply put, that short, but complete paragraph, is my teaching philosophy. Those words confirmed my commitment to education and chased away the internal mind clutter caused by self-doubt. I pinned the notebook page to my refrig to reminded myself to clean out the garage more often … throw out the clutter and dust off those buried treasures of self and wisdom. It serves as a daily reminder of why I do what I do and never want to retire.