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Abstract

Anzaldúa inspires my courage to write and speak plainly, and together with encouragement from several good colleagues, I offer personal testimony, as part of a critical reflection on my own long teaching practice, my earlier writing and speaking about education, and an even longer history as a learner. Love is at the heart of it, a concern for students' well being, intellectual and spiritual. As bell hooks has noted, an "engaged pedagogy" involves the teacher in "sharing in the intellectual and spiritual growth" (hooks 1994: 13) of students, not only for the student's sake, but also for the professor's. Of course, only in this sense, in Anzaldúa's terms, can we as professors too begin to define ourselves in terms of who we are becoming, not who we have been, reaching that final step toward conocimiento, where we gain clarity about our own "vision or spiritual activism" (Anzaldúa 2002: 568) and fix on an ethical, compassionate strategy toward our life's work. After all, this furthers our central "human task." Gloria describes that task this way: "to determine what your life means, to catch a glimpse of the cosmic order and your part in that cosmovison" (Anzaldúa 2002: 540).

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