A Lesson from Absurdist Academia

This is what happened to me recently at West Georgia Technical College in Carrollton, Georgia. No names have been changed because these are the facts. No libel or slander is committed because what is presented here is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I post this as witness and warning to others who might seek employment at this institution. This post will not be deleted as it is protected by the First Amendment freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

I have always enjoyed teaching. Helping adults realize their true potential and find their place in the world is my way of paying it forward. I have three collegiate teaching concentrations–history, mathematics, and English–and am working on a third master’s degree in psychology. To say that I care about my mind and the minds of others is to put it mildly–this is my passion.

As an instructor, I always thought I had the backing of the administration of the schools where I worked. I figured that, in this day and age of gun violence in the classroom, a report of a discipline problem would be handled swiftly and surely. Well, not at West Georgia Technical College where disruption in the classroom isn’t merely tolerated by the administration, those who disrupt are coddled and given special treatment–even if it means violating internal policies designed to prevent financial aid fraud.

One student I had was Daija Dobbs who graduated from Temple High School in Georgia. From day one, Ms. Dobbs was loud, disruptive, and obnoxious. When told that she couldn’t use a calculator on a computer-based diagnostic in order to divide 842 by 2 (yes, you read that right–an even number whose digits are all even numbers divided by the singular even prime–she needed her phone) she exploded into a tirade, “Nobody divides without a calculator anymore! That’s not how it’s done!”

When she began breaking other rules and was gently reminded of them, she would cop an attitude. When one student was given permission to leave class early in order to go to work, Ms. Dobbs began leaving early, too. When she attempted to sign my roll to be marked present and not jeopardize her financial aid but signaled that she would leave immediately after doing so, I refused–and that’s when she was handed a golden pass on a silver platter by the instructional coordinator of the Carroll Campus, one Ms. Jane Petty.

Now Jane had told me once that West Georgia Tech was in serious financial trouble. Apparently, the school had offered financial aid packages to students for programs that were not covered by financial aid. The college was thus having to pay back the US Department of Education. While this is serious, it’s not a justification for what happened next….

Ms. Dobbs went to Ms. Petty’s office where I was promptly denounced, lied about, and bad-mouthed. When I went to check on Ms. Petty, hideous lies were said of me–I was accused of racism; I was accused of being “big, white, and intimidating;” I was told I needed to make special accommodation for Ms. Dobbs because she had conceived and birthed a child out of wedlock. She then extended Ms. Dobb’s permitted absences for the term beyond the customary number by 2 weeks to permit the young woman to keep her financial aid. My abilities, credentials, and experience were then directly undermined by Ms. Petty.

All of these ugly and untrue things were said of me in front of me, in front of Ms. Dobbs who wore a smug, self-satisfied smile the entire time. Ms. Dobbs then snidely told me, “There’s got to be a better way”–referring to my teaching method. This was wholly inappropriate.

Now, Ms. Petty did not bother to check with the other students in the classroom about my alleged behavior. In truth, had she done so, she would’ve discovered that every student in the room–black and white–was appalled by Ms. Dobbs’ conduct. I had students express they were concerned for their safety around Ms. Dobbs. I had one student confide in me that Ms. Dobbs had quipped she could have my job if she wanted because she (Ms. Dobbs) was a young black woman and I am a white man.

Needless to say, Ms. Petty’s unprofessional behavior came with consequences–for me. I lost sleep. I became physically sick for days afterward. I withdrew my name from West Georgia’s adjunct pool because I knew that if I ever had a serious problem with a student again the administration would do nothing for me. There would be no protection, no removal of miscreants and truants from my roll–I was there to fill a chair and provide them the cover they needed to look like a legitimate school while they continued to con the US Department of Education and their students out of financial aid dollars.

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Moreover, no special consideration was granted to any of my good students. No special rights were afforded them by the administration of West Georgia Technical College. They were essentially held accountable while one little brat was allowed to have her way because Jane Petty felt retaining her would help offset the institution’s previous fuck-up with financial aid monies.

I’m now considering a change of career. In this day and age, it’s not worth it to be a teacher. I’m thinking I want to pursue a PhD in psychology so I can work with the severely mentally ill. Schizophrenics may be prone to antisocial outbursts but that’s something I can handle–they need some help and I think maybe I can help them. People like Daija Dobbs can’t be helped; administrators like Jane Petty make sure of that.

If you or your child attends West Georgia Technical College, you need to be aware that you are in physical danger. Bad behavior is overlooked for the sake of cash. You may get assaulted there–or shot–because petty tin gods like Ms. Petty don’t take your safety seriously.

 

Shriek into the Void...

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