Thursday, March 20, 2008

To Know You is To...

A few months ago at a "parent-teacher meeting," when I was speaking to a student's mother, she admitted that she knows who I am. She reads my blogs. At first I was flattered, then

Gevalt!

I had better be more careful. Do I really want to let down on my "image?" I teach high school boys, who don't read English, unless they're forced to. The chances of their looking at my blogs are rather slim. But I have to be careful about my bosses and the students' parents or anyone who can put two and two together.

It isn't quite the same situation as described in a
New York Times article, which concentrates on how some professors are using facebook to appear more human to their students.
Maybe I'm of a different generation. Some of our authority is derived from "mystery." Being a teacher is sort of being inhuman. Students shouldn't think of us as throwing out the garbage, having imperfect children, etc.
I don't know what the law is now, but when I was a kid in New York City, teachers couldn't teach in the district they lived.
But about the article, I can't get something out of my mind. It brings back what I heard about a college a few decades ago. A number of young female undergraduates began dating some of their teachers. In those days, "living together" was less accepted, and there may have been rules against staff-student relationships. A number of these couples married, but the marriages didn't last. The girls got divorces along with their diplomas.
I don't see why university students must see more than a "family picture on the professor's desk." Professor-student socializing shouldn't be the norm. I have a feeling that is the aim of some...
Cll me old-fashioned, but I think it's inappropriate.

2 comments:

Leora said...

I like your old-fashioned take. We don't want teachers to be seen as non-humans, but it's nice to have respect. A bit of distance might be necessary in the student-teacher relationship.

And, yes, it's hard to maintain that balance between the need to open up and be human in a blog and being professional elsewhere.

Batya said...

Thanks
According to Jewish Law, one is forbidden to sit in one's father's chair and there are similar things re one's teachers.