This Thursday will be my last day teaching at the community college, and probably my last day teaching economics ever. A month ago, I informed the head of the Business Department that I would not be teaching for him this fall. My notification was purely academic, as the Fall 2014 schedule had already come out and the two classes that I normally teach were going to be taught by the ubiquitous Dr. Staff.
The impetus for this change (after 6 years of teaching at this
godforsaken hellhole school while receiving glowing student evaluations) was the fact that a problem student snuck a beer into my class and consumed it during the lecture and I didn’t see him do it or stop him. The only way I found out at all was because two different students took pictures of him and/or the beer and posted them to Facebook and Twitter. Never mind the fact that this student was known to be smoking weed on campus, or that he moved over one row and positioned himself so that I couldn’t see what he was doing. No, the most important thing is that I didn’t catch him.
This is what really turned me off to working in academia: the constant bickering and lying over petty things. The fact is that the department head lied to my face and said that he still had to contact the instructors in order to set the Fall schedule when said schedule had already been arranged. And it wasn’t the first time that things like this have happened. It also occurred more than once in graduate school when dealing with professors and administrators, and again several times during my teaching career at other institutions.
So I leave higher education behind for sunnier skies, less juvenile antics from people who are old enough to know better, and a (much) higher level of pay. But I will never forget the the truth that in American higher education today, high school never ends.
*Loosely translated: “Farewell, academia”