Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Rules for teachers

1) Show up on time, even if it means having to wake up stupidly early (you will).

2) Don't cancel classes; even if you are half eat-up with the small pox, go to class.

3) Take attendance, even though it's a pain in the ass and waste of time.

4) Grade stuff, even when it means surreptitiously circling verb errors during important, relationship critical discussions with your significant other.

5) Teach the material, even if it means unorthodox methods (or explaining 4358 times that "frikkin'" is not an acceptable adjective).

6) Never, ever, ever, ever, ever even consider dating a student. EVER. (It goes without saying that you should not do it).

I think we all know what kind of trouble I ran into the other day, so I will just explain without expressing additional self-hatred that, much to my horror, I am (was) ... goddamit.... attracted to one of my students.*

Nothing happened except it was the last day of class and he was the last one to leave and he shook my hand and held onto it for just that tiniest little fraction of an amount of time that is too long. And I didn't hate it.

That's it. I'll never see this kid again, so it doesn't matter. No harm has been done to anyone's learning environment or anyone's professional integrity, but, people, in my entire eight year teaching career, I have never once so much as noticed a student in any way other than a professional one. When I look at students, I see nothing by letters, numbers, handwriting and badly conjugated verbs. I do not "see" anything other than a teaching target. I have never understood college professors who think this or that student is "hot" or "cute" or whatever, and I am such a self-critical and judgmental bitch that I won't have anything to do with professors who date students, because even on the college level, I think it's unfair to both the targeted student and the other students in the class, not to say the student's parents and the student's future spouse (because you know good and damn well that it isn't you).

I should have realized, of course, long before the last day of classes that this kid was flirting with me. I should have noticed it, but because of the"personal" invisibility of my students, I never noticed a thing. He cracked a lot of jokes and I made fun of him some because he seemed to take it as a sign of esteem (a lot of students do, oddly enough) but I didn't notice that he was noticing me. Duh.

And if you don't think that it's grotesque that I had a strange moment of heart fluttering (give me a moment to hate myself a little bit more and I'll finish my sentence... .... ....) you should definitely think it's gross that I had a student flirting with me in one of my classes for an entire 13 weeks AND I NEVER NOTICED BECAUSE OF MY PRINCIPLES.

Because isn't that also a little unfair to the student(s)? Doesn't that also harm the learning environment?

I think I'll go sharpen my knives now. Have a "nice" afternoon.

*He is of age, before anyone REALLY freaks out, here. He is 24 and though incredibly immature, legally grown up.


P said...

I think principles are boring and am against them, in principle, because they make us feel bad for copping a harmless little hand feel every now and then with a cute, of age student. I say make out with him in a broom closet. Do it. I won't think you're gross.

Effortlessly Average said...

Personally I'd have loved for one of my teachers to make out with me when I was in college, but frankly they were too crusty. And male. At his age, and after the class was done, I'd say it would be perfectly normal to make him stay after class for a little detention.

You're principles aside, which by the way are very noble, it's not as if the young man is 11. It's not a despicable as it feels to you.

Nina said...

P, I made out with someone in the linen closet of a hotel once. Maybe I'll tell that story some day.

Effortless Average, there's not way I could date this person and have people not find out - and if people found out I would instantly lose my job. If he were over 30, I might consider risking it. I guess I am pissed at myself for being so un-self-aware more than anything.

nightfly said...

Don't be too hard on yourself. You hadn't a clue until it happened, so your principles are working. The time to start worrying is when you aren't shocked at yourself for it.

So, you're not grotesque.

LizB said...

The fact that you HAVE principles makes you not gross in my book. You never even noticed the flirting, so his grade was certainly not affected. He's not a minor, and you haven't done anything wrong. Don't be too hard on myself.

And hey, two of our subs in this county were fired for dating students. Now that's gross! (The dating, not the firing.)

LizB said...

One more teaching aphorism:

"I teach; therefore, I drink."

Kate P said...

Hmm, this stuff hasn't come up in my teacher education classes yet. Although at my full time job my boss's boss (female attorney) made a comment about how good-looking the law student intern (male) was and that weirded me out. Not that she thought it, but that she made the comment out loud during a meeting.

Boundaries, Nina--God bless you for having them!

Woodrow said...

Today I had a customer that I totally wanted to hump my leg*. Is that against the rules?

country roads said...

I admire the fact that you didn't notice. I also don't condemn the fact that you were flattered and your heart fluttered when you did notice his attention. It's human. It's ok to be human. As long as you're not chasing him around the room ;-)

utenzi said...

I don't think it's gross or unseemly for that to have occurred, Nina. Either his attraction or your not noticing.

What did bother me was your:

Never, ever, ever, ever, ever even consider dating a student. EVER. (It goes without saying that you should not do it).

'Cause you said it goes without saying right after you said it. LOL

Slick said...

Ah, you took the safest course of action Nina. Whether you realized it or not.

If you have a 24 year old student "hittin" on you...I'm sure there'll be a 24 year old non student who's willing to take his place ;)