Thursday, November 6, 2008
Hot For Teacher, with guest star, Prof C.J.
Guest Columnist Professor C.J. weighs in on the teacher student relationship.
Im a freshman in college and signed up for a queer theory class in the women's studies department. First I was just excited and a little nervous about the reading and being the only freshman in a classroom full of seniors. Then a girl walked in and my face dropped, shes absolutely perfect! Totally surpasses any cute girl that might have caught my eye before. She has gorgeous tattoos and a cute haircut and wears keds and pulls out a copy of "Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity" and is all around completely what im looking for, I swear its like love at first sight. One catch, she turns out to be the teacher!
I've been in the class for a little over a month now and dont know what to do. I find myself doing silly things and imagine what kissing her is like and if her feet get cold under the covers while shes lecturing us on Foucault. I get all hot and bothered when she asks me a question and smiles at my answer. She's relatively young, 27 or so and is a graduate student at the school. Nicole, what is the appropriateness of the situation? I feel like I would be very much her type, should I go for it? If so, how? Or are student-teacher relationships still a big no? Is an 8 year age gap still too large at my age? After all, Lindsey Lohan and Sam Ronson are like 10 years apart, right? I mean, i've always liked the idea of having an affair with a professor.
Hot For Teacher
Dear Hot For Teacher,
A student once confessed a crush on me via e-mail. I was surprised but
also not surprised, and I was also flattered, and momentarily a little
freaked out, and I was also extremely relieved that she did not tell
me until she had dropped my class. Verily I say unto you:
Do not. Confess. Your crush. To your teacher. At least not now.
Whether she is appalled or overjoyed, such a confession will fuck up
her entire semester. She has to perform every class with you sitting
right there in front of her. (Teaching is a performance art, believe
me--and the moment you become self-conscious in front of a classroom,
you lose it.) As soon as you drop that bomb, it will forever alter the
dynamic between you, and that will infect the way she teaches the
Let's think about this. In your worst-case scenario, she turns you
down and you feel like a dumbass and she feels awkward and embarrassed
and you should probably drop the class.
In your best-case pegasus-and-rainbows fantasy scenario, the teacher
has weak professional boundaries and no qualms about dating a
teenager, and both of you have to finish out the class hiding your
relationship so she does not get in trouble. This might sound hot, but
it is not. It is more like acid-reflux-inducing. Because if your
illicit love is discovered, she will at best be scoffed at by her
graduate student peers and the subject of endless snarky cracks both
to her face and behind her back (as I saw firsthand with an otherwise
likable grad school colleague who, at age 27, dated one of his
freshmen, to collective disgust), and at worst might raise the ire of
her supervisors and perhaps even cause her to lose her graduate
teaching assistantship, which is not only the source of her income to
pay for grad school but also the foundation of any hope she has for a
career in higher education.
I know that sounds dramatic, but it's all possible. It is never good
to start off one's teaching career with a relationship with a student.
Only old tenured dudes can get away with that.
And anyway, keep in mind that it's way cooler for a 19-year-old to
date a 27-year-old than vice versa.
Lastly: Although I can't guarantee it will win her heart, the
guaranteed way to win her favor is to be the Best Student Ever.
Utterly kick ass in that class. Do all the readings and take notes and
speak up in class (but don't dominate! listening well and responding
thoughtfully are even more important!) and ask good questions and
write smart, well-proofread, well-researched papers. Even if she
doesn't fall in love with you, you will benefit from being an awesome
student, the whole class will benefit from having a more engaged and
well-read classmate, and both these things will make her totally