Teaching, Coping, Living: A Collection of Six-Word Memoirs

Black and white photo of 3 locks on a chain link fence

Anxious campesina grasping peaceful power, struggling.

Rocio Soto, fourth-year undergraduate, LMC major

Educators and scholars lead stressful personal and professional lives, and, knowing that, we at TECHStyle wanted to create a space for self-expression in addition to our usual scholarly and pedagogical fare. To achieve this goal in an accessible yet powerful way, we thought it might be fitting for our colleagues to convey their experiences and feelings using the six-word memoir as a unifying form. The contributions in this collection illuminate the sentiments and values that Brittain Fellows, past and present, share. At the core of this collection are expressions of overwhelming uncertainty about teaching, career, and life more generally, as well as teaching philosophies that involve transformation, compassion, and inclusivity. Amid ambiguity, feelings of nostalgia resonate as we hear mantras to persist and prioritize self-care. We share these vignettes here, hoping that you, too, feel heard, seen, understood, and ultimately inspired. – Julia Tigner and Jeff Howard, editors

Surviving the Pandemic

Defiantly Living amidst so much Death

Wendy Truran


Fall colors, red and yellow on Techwood Drive.Is this really “the new normal”?

Emily Smith


around people before knowing apparent dangers

Julia Tigner


I cry sporadically, but I’m okay.

Rachel Robinson


In the Classroom

the calm before class prep—palpable

Julia Tigner


I’ve literally made pancakes in class.

Jeff Howard


Virtual distances. Cameras off. We learnt.

Suchismita Dutta


Can you hear me now? No?

Wendy Truran


A stoplight on a MARTA train track shows red.Students

Just assume students want to learn.

John Taylor


These students work f-ing hard already.

Emily Smith


Torn between ethics and my responsibilities.

Shane Snyder


I allow students not to come.

Jeff Howard



Teaching Care through Words and Pixels

Wendy Truran


Exhaustion sneaks up all around me.

Rachel Robinson


Taking care of yourself comes first.

Emily Smith


Black and white photo of a MARTA train station.The Academy

Writing about free will; feeling circumscribed.

Kendra Slayton


Leaving my words alone scares me.

Eric Lewis


Academia is abusive; I love abuse.

Shane Snyder


Should I have remained a farmer?

Jeff Howard


Do I know what I’m doing?

Emily Smith


Alas, academia, you win. I’m done.

Rachel Robinson



Chaucer, cats, cooking: a medievalist cliché.

Kendra Slayton


Fall colors, red, yellow, and orange on Freshman Hill near the GT library.Knowledge, child of Experience and Reflection.

Paige Arrington


Don’t hide what you don’t know.

Jill Fennell


Onward, because what else is there?

Caitlin Kelly



Share articles with your friends or follow us on Twitter!
Julia Tigner

About Julia Tigner

Julia Tigner is a Marion L. Brittain Postdoctoral Fellow at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Her research examines how Black women writers across the African Diaspora use liminality as a trope to explore how Black women negotiate space and live at the intersection of race and gender. This interest in liminality, space, identity, and movement is foundational to both her research and teaching.
Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.