Ignorance has built a bad reputation over the centuries, but during my 40+ years as a classroom teacher, I’ve slowly come to realize that ignorance is as necessary to academic success as fruitful soil is to flowers. Ignorance, you might say, is the bountiful loam of first-rate learning, for without it no learning would take place. I can’t learn something unless I’m first uninformed of it – unless there is first a vacant space in my understanding that is waiting to be filled by awareness and appreciation. It’s surprising to me that so many people seem to want to conceal their ignorance, or pretend that it’s nonexistent. That’s as foolish as hiding your flourishing flower garden's soil because you’re embarrassed by it, or pretending the gloomy and gooey mud at the bottom of ponds isn’t actually the source of every lovely water-lily blossom. Out of the darkness of night comes the light of morning, and out of the confusion of ignorance comes the sought-after sparkle of insight. I’m proud to be, relatively speaking, immensely ignorant, because it means, at 71, I still have a vast land of learning to explore.