Wednesday, June 18, 2014

covered in alligators.

There's a saying 'round here, "up to your a-- in alligators" that sometimes gets translated into a nicer form of "covered up in alligators."

That's how I feel right now. I like teaching summer classes, the money is good, but DANG do they move fast. You have to be super-on-top-of-your-game to keep up. (And I'm worrying about the manuscript I want to be writing - when will I get to that?)

Also, the students are....different. Some are different-good (dedicated, hardworking students wanting to graduate early or to get a fast track to their degree). Some are just different. I have a student I'm interpreting as emotionally needy (I could be screwed up on that) because this student e-mails me multiple times every couple days with questions on EVERYTHING.

Also, the student has made several appointments to come see me (they have expressed a fear that they are failing) but has broken every single one. (At least they e-mail me to let me know they're not coming). I'm guessing this is someone with a lot of fear about "talking to the professor" but I don't know how to fix that - I can't present myself as any more cuddly than I already do, short of coming to class in a teddy bear suit.

Also, I wonder: at what point does it stop being MY problem that a student is afraid to come in and talk to me? A number of other people in that class have, so I know it's not that I present as difficult. And I've always been cordial about answering this student's questions, both in class and through e-mail. But it's impossible to make someone do something they don't want to do but probably need to do (meet with me). And I guess I should stop worrying about it and figure that if they can't be enough of an adult to come in, then that's not my problem.

I also interpret this person as emotionally needy, so I'm wary about reaching out TOO hard - I once had the experience of a student I reached out to suddenly assuming I was her substitute big sister or something and sharing ALLLLL of her TMI problems with me. (She was having some...gynecological issues, let's say. I referred her to the campus nurse, and tried to communicate, without coming out and saying, "I really don't need to know this and I also really don't WANT to know this.) So I admit, I'm afraid that being TOO open will make some students decide suddenly that I am their bestest friend, and that gets really weird and uncomfortable.

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