By the end of the spring semester, I knew that I could not remain at Stillman another year. I had a few good students, but a few were not enough. One morning as I dressed for work, I accepted the reality that too much of my time was being wasted on students who did not care. I felt guilty about wanting to leave. But enough was enough.
A week before I left Stillman as a professor, I drove through the main gate en route to a final exam. As always, I saw a group of male students hanging out in front of King Hall.
The same four I had seen when I drove onto campus nearly two years earlier were milling about on the lawn. I parked my car and walked over to the group.
"Why don't you all hang out somewhere else?" I asked.
"Who you talking to, old nigger?" one said.
"You give the school a bad image out here, " I said.
"Hang out somewhere else or at least go to the library and read a book, " I said.
They laughed and dismissed me with stylized waves of the arm.
I walked back to my old Chevy Blazer, sad but relieved that I would be leaving.
In my office, I sat at my desk staring at a stack of papers to be graded. I'm wasting my time, I thought. I've wasted two years of my professional life. I don't belong here.
Aside: this thread at Nancy Nall's is fascinating.