Yesterday, I had my exit interview at LCCC. I am officially done on August 15th because of the contract year, but, for all practical purposes, we have parted ways.
My friend asked how it felt to be "done." And, I couldn't answer her. I am not sure I can even now. I loved most of the students at LCCC, and I will miss them. Students like Daliah and Nada made everything very much worthwhile.
Even though there are people at LCCC passing rumors about WHY I left, I can assure you that I didn't leave because I was unduly unhappy. In fact, I wasn't even looking for a new job. Because of Second Life, I met a guy who told me about this new position at a great boarding school, and the rest is history. I fell in love with Hotchkiss the minute I landed there, but not because I was trying to escape LCCC. I love it because it is a beautiful place to live and work, the people are amazingly smart, the students are bright, and the facilities are out of this world. The job is something new and challenging, and I am looking forward to a new chapter.
But, truly, I could have stayed at LCCC until retirement. I was eager to annoy my critics for at least another 30 years. But, now that I left/am leaving/transitioning/whatever, I can really see with a clear eye what is great about LCCC and what sucks about it.
The great part is easy - the students (for the most part) are great, and the support staff (secretaries, maintenance, security) ROCK! My goodness, they really should get the better pay cuz' they do all the work. The library staff also rocks. In fact, I am not sure I have ever met a librarian I didn't instantly love.
The sucky part is more complicated. For one, the leadership wastes money out the wazzzzzooooo. Case in point: Yesterday, when I was returning my laptop, I couldn't walk through the Student Union Building. Why? Well, apparently, the flooring (which is only about 8-10 years old) was not pretty enough for someone at the top, and, thus, the maintenance staff (who are working on a bajillion other projects) are BUFFING IT and REPAINTING it. That money SHOULD be going into positions, technology, and staff.
Laptops and iPods are locked in cabinets...never even opened or used. WHY?
Now, these just grace the tip of the tip of the TIP of the iceberg. Don't even get me started on the crotchety old farts that need to retire already....teaching outdated crap and calling it "the right way." Pretending to be all Harvard (and CLEARLY they aren't up on what Harvard is doing because Harvard is doing LOTS of wicked awesome stuff)....Training up the junior faculty to be as bitter as they are...whining and complaining and demanding more money to do mediocre work. Ya know...they always say "We just don't get paid enough to do X and Y" Well, I got a raise every year just along with everyone else, and more money didn't change their apathy. I wonder what price it is to get people off their butts?
Of course that doesn't apply to all the faculty; it really only applies to many of the ones I dealt with daily. I have seen many of them belittle students, belittle adjuncts, and then chant about how they are upholding some imaginary standard (which, interestingly enough, they don't even agree on).
So, I could have stayed and been a click in the wheel of apathy. But, then again....brilliant kids, brilliant and diverse colleagues, gorgeous facilities, awesome benefits, amazing place for our family to live and grow.... Hmmmm.....
To answer the question posed by my friend: I am not sure how I feel about leaving, but I know that I am really happy about where I am going.