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Thread: Help! I've Fallen for My Professor!

  1. #1
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    thatoneperson is offline Senior Member
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    Help! I've Fallen for My Professor!

    Hello, and welcome to Ageless! If you're reading this thread, there's a good chance that you've found yourself seriously crushing on your professor. You may even intend to start a relationship with him. Having a crush on a professor can be fun and makes class much more exciting, but if you're seriously considering starting a relationship with him, I suggest you read through the rest of this post. Take it from someone who is currently dating her former professor---you'll want to ask yourself these questions before you take the next step toward starting a relationship.

    1. Is he in your major/minor department?

    If he is, don't even consider starting a relationship with him until after you graduated. It would be a major conflict of interest and could possible destroy his and your reputation in the field.

    My OM was my professor in my major. In order to have an ethical relationship, I waited to ask him out until I had graduated and all my final records were in the books. We're still not very open about it with people from the institution, mostly due to prejudice about AGRs. This part of our relationship is awkward, but we do what we can.

    2. What is your school's policy about student-teacher relationships?

    Many prohibit any type of romantic relationship between a student and a professor, even if he doesn't have any sort of conflict of interest. Competition for jobs in academia is fierce. If he got fired/lost tenure for sexual harassment, which is what they'd consider your relationship to be, it would be very hard for him to get another job/regain tenure. If you really care about him, you won't jeopardize his career.

    3. Have you interacted with him outside of the classroom?

    Great teachers are great actors. They use what they've learned about pedagogy to create engaging and exciting lectures and activities for their students. They're passionate about their subject, and they try to share that passion with their students. Sometimes students confuse the passion and curiosity that's been ignited for the subject for feelings about their professor. Professors are often quite different outside of work, like a lot of people are.

    4. If it's kosher, are you prepared to deal with the consequences of dating him while you're still in school?

    That would mean that you can't take any more of his classes, can't request letters of recommendation, and can't be his advisee. And since people love to talk, you'd have to be prepared to deal with raised eyebrows from both your peers and your professors, many of whom are probably his friends. Are you prepared to deal with their judgement over your relationship? What happens if you two break up? Professors are people, after all.

    --

    If you've been honest in answering those questions to yourself and still intend to start the relationship, there will be some things you'll want to know about your professor:

    1. Is he already in a relationship?

    Some professors refer to their families in their lectures. Others don't. Do not pursue a relationship with a man in a monogamous relationship. Period. End of sentence.

    2. Does he have a reputation for dating students?

    If so, enter this relationship with your eyes open. Don't pursue the relationship unless you're okay with possibly being the student of the month.

    3. How will you balance the power differential when switching from a student/teacher relationship to a lover/lover relationship?

    A professor has much more power than a student does in an educational setting. The students sit quietly and listen to their professor, take instructions and feedback from their professor, and often defer to their professor's expertise. That's perfectly fine---for student/teacher relationships. If you're interested in a real relationship, you want to date somebody who treats you like a peer, not as a student. Some people are perfectly okay switching roles, and others have difficulty doing so.

    --

    Bottom line: You really should wait until you've graduated or transferred institutions to begin a relationship with your professor. That may seem like it's forever away, but I waited to ask mine out, and we've been together ever since <3

    Some things are worth waiting for. If you're serious about this relationship, you'll wait.

  2. #2
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    NYTimes Magazine Article

    Today the NYTimes Magazine tackled this issue in its Ethicist column. This is why I emphasize the importance of reading up on your school's policies regarding student/teacher relationships before pursing one.

    The Ethicist
    An Amorous Professor
    By CHUCK KLOSTERMAN
    Published: July 20, 2012 Comment

    A professor teaching in the college where I am the dean responded to anonymous accusations that he had an amorous relationship with a student by claiming the relationship took place only after the student graduated. Today, he confessed to me that he lied ó the relationship did start before she graduated, but he said it did not influence her grades. He was in tears while telling me this. Although nobody seems to be hurt, he violated a policy that no intimate relationships take place between students and professors. Should I prosecute him despite the fact that he voluntarily admitted the offense?
    NAME WITHHELD


    As dean, you are responsible for enforcing the existing rules of the university. This man has broken two of them (one with the relationship and another with his lie). He argues that his intimacy with the student did not impact the womanís grades, but thatís not relevant: part of the reason such rules exist is that the machinations of attraction unconsciously change the way you view the work of other people. Even if he could prove that sleeping with this woman had no influence on her report card ó if he taught an objective math class, for example, and he could illustrate how the studentís grade exactly reflected her performance ó it still wouldnít matter. The issue is his action, not his motivation. You must prosecute, unless youíre willing to contradict the nature and requirements of your job.

    That said, I would advise rethinking how your school handles these types of situations in the future (and to factor in the professorís remorse during the penalty phase of his tribunal). The policy should not be inflexible. These parameters try to control the sex lives of consenting adults; the inherent power relationship is problematic, but not indisputably immoral. Is this a pattern of behavior for the professor? How did the relationship initiate and progress? Are the involved parties authentically in love with each other? What are the larger consequences of this indiscretion? All these questions should factor into how this behavior is restricted.

    As an authority figure, you have to impose the rule of law, but donít ignore the possibility that the rule youíre imposing is flawed.
    Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/22/ma...ef=todayspaper
    SummerBob likes this.

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