We're not students. We just play them on the TV commercials.
Call me crazy (ok, so you already know I'm certified in that department) but I'm more than a little ticked off that the first college section ("cohorts" they are termed) I had a major hand in educating is graduating at this moment. Or they've already started running to each other's parties.
Let's see. There's a new college president, a new director of education, and a host of folks who have either quit, or were fired. Some good people too.
But to think there's that core group of "adjunct professors" who really didn't give a shit about the students in the first place, barely challenged them, and embodied everything a "professor" shouldn't be, sitting on that stage in Norwalk, probably bitching "I wouldn't be here if I wasn't being paid" ($30something per hour) is, to me, indicative of the type of school the Gibbs Diploma Mill is.
So I resigned in August 2006. Big deal. I have a conscience, and with one's boss (I was his direct report) advocating doctored attendance records, false internships, and (my personal favorite) "grade fixing" (yep, from the Dir of Ed straight down to the program director), well who wouldn't leave, if they had a sense of morals and ethics.
It still pains me to think that there's a handful of people I'd stand at the end of the faculty receiving line and literally kick their asses down the stairs (figuratively) and into the real world. The looks in their faces. Some tear-stained, as well as mine.
Just plain sucks.
It fucking sucks.
That fucking Gibbs (Norwalk and Farmington, to be precise) represents everything that is wrong with education today, and with a large percentage of "adjunct faculty" who may know their respective subjects, but can't teach to save their lives, let alone the students.
My take on those "adjunct professors" is that they really fall into the category of "those who can't, teach" as well as the "those who don't care, shouldn't be standing in front of a class.
It still astounds me, to this day, that I said "no more" to the machine, when I was the singular instructor (barring one other older male colleague) who recognized the pieces of coal which were about to turn into diamonds, and the speck of dirt deep within the oyster which would evolve into a pearl.
Financially, spiritually, emotionally, physically and every other way possible, I dragged some of those kids into a future they didn't think they could face, an education they were ready to give up on, and then I can't even see the looks on their respective faces, as well as their parents and relatives.
Like I used to say, if my "colleagues" were teaching medicine, and the administration was condoning outright travesties occurring in the classrooms...
there'd be a lot of dead bodies strewn around the rented real estate.
And I stand by that.
And I am hardly surprised when, somewhere down the life-line, a long-forgotten students googles me and hits me up with an e-mail or a phone call (i.e.: Shamus, Mike, Jesus et alia) bringing me up to date on their lives, and how they had instructors whose names they couldn't even remember, as well as the shit they passed off as education.
There's a small payoff.
Personally? I can't plant the seeds any more.
Especially when I am prevented from seeing the seedlings begin to take shape.
I went to the graduations because I wanted to go. Not because I was paid some $70 before taxes.
And then the colleagues you couldn't even respect get all "buddy-buddy" and want to go out for the evening.
Like Andy Warhol once said (and I paraphrase) leave the party when no one notices.
And I usually did. Split right after the ceremonies, and, more often than not, cried from Point B back to Point A, spending comforting time in the orange, knowing I did my best, and hoping against hope that the ones I invested the most in would go further than I ever dreamt of going.
Buena suerte a todos.
My Spanish is bad, so:
It was my pleasure to knock you around in the classroom.
I know there will be a day, someday, any day, when it all "clicks" and you say to yourselves "that crazy guy knew what he was talking about all along."
My secret fear (not a secret any more!) is that I'll be showing up for a job interview at some point in the future and either a former student is interviewing for the same position, or, worse yet, is interviewing me to determine whether I'm worthy of hiring, or not.
Photography is a solitary art. Thank God for small favors.
When I'm in orange with the weapon in my hand, nothing seems to matter to me.
Even the fact that I don't process my film, never make contact prints, and have the images languish latently in a freezer, or have the negatives and slides stashed chaotically in boxes.
Never viewed even once after their creation.
After all, a broken circle is nothing other than a curved line, a vector path.
Kinda like a broken glass trying to hold water...
I still say there will be a day in the (near?) future when the phrase won't be "he taught at Gibbs" but, instead, will be "I studied with so-and-so."
A pillow full of goose down and feathers,
scattered from a high mountain into a stiff wind.
Vaya con dios, todos.
And operators standing by now.
So make that call,
and change your life...
Labels: Gibbs Farmington, Gibbs Norwalk, teaching