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March 24, 2006

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anonyms

UCLA is in the final four Hugo!!!!!! GO bruins! Let's celebrate!

isabella mori

reminds me of what bell hooks says about eros and teaching in "teaching to transgress". she says there is no truly good teaching without eros. she doesn't see eros in a narrow, sexual way but puts it in an expansive context. eros is the spark, the passion, the sizzle, the excitement that comes with god teaching. alison bartlett writes about this, too - see http://www.usq.edu.au/users/bartlett/a%20passionate%20subject.htm, if you can handle/overlook the postermodern speak that these types of papers often have.

taking another tack, like so many others, of course i've had crushes on teachers, as well. for me it was about having crushes on father/authority figures, the same way i'd have a crush on a boss or older co-worker.

djw

Despite being outplayed by Gonzaga for 39+ minutes. Grr. And don't get me started on the Husky^2 game...

(Sorry, thread drift...)

Sophonisba, way upthread, made the following astute observation that rather clearly applies to me:

if a professor is really so "shy with women" outside the classroom, of how exactly he can distinguish between flirting and, well, the good old-fashioned practice of sucking up.

It's not shyness so much as a really disfunctional radar for flirting for me. It's a rather non-trivial problem in my social life. However, if you approach your students as a category of people whom it is entirely inappropriate to sexualize, in real or fantasy terms, it becomes entirely irrelevant. When the maybe or maybe not flirting happens, watch your boundaries closely. As long as the student doesn't take it into the realm of the overt, which at least for me is much less common, it really doesn't matter to me whether they're just friendly or flirting. I'm not even curious anymore.

I think this is a good post that captures the reality of a wide swath of student crushes on teachers, but I'd be hesitant to ascribe some sort of universal theory of student crushes. Some teachers are just hot. Nuff said.

Hugo

I'm thinking, DJW, about expanding this into a longer post where we create some dichotomies for student crushes; my initial thoughts may have excessively downplayed the role of perceived "hotness" of certain professors.

(I thought the officiating in the UW/UConn game was atrocious, for what it's worth. You wuzz robbed. But I am very, very, happy to see UCLA do as well as they've done, especially with the lost art of defense.)

Dustin

Everyone's hot when you've got a crush on them.

I was talking to another professor and some graduate students about this post yesterday, and all the students (and the other profesor, for that matter) professed to have or have had crushes on professors at the school. Only one of the professors attracted attention because of his looks -- the rest were all "hot" because of "their minds". Now, there's nothing wrong with being attracted to someone because they're smart or confident or even because they're good teachers -- but I think there's a minority of cases where the teacher is, against some societal standard, objectively "hot".

By the way, if you want to see some serious blushing, simply inform students exactly how aware their professors are of the phenomena of student crushes. I don't think it had ever occurred to many of the students I talked to!

Cats & Dogma

There is, also, a reciprocal pehnomenon that few of us talk about: the crush on the student. Let me first explain what I mean by crush, here, because it's almost explicitly not sexual. Lord knows that my sex life was awkward enough at that age--I certainly wouldn't want to revisit it with a 15 years older body. But there are students with whom I become temporarily fascinated. Just as students there can be something intoxicating about the presence, the experience, the passion of someone at the front of the classroom, there is something similarly invigorating about the potential, the excitement, the newness of a really compelling student. I regularly develop these crushes. They've never grown into anything more than an occasional email correspondence after the student has gone, but the crushes do go both ways, and they more we try to divorce them from taboo sexuality (which seems to have little to do with it at all), the more we can address what they are, which is excitement about the very act of teaching and learning, personified in teachers and students who seem to embody those ideals.

Lynn Gazis-Sax

but I think there's a minority of cases where the teacher is, against some societal standard, objectively "hot".

True, but, when you happen to be one of the youngest and fittest teachers on staff, you may attract more than your share of crushes (as well as more crushes than that same young, fit body would attract without the teaching role). There was one history teacher in my high school who was a huge magnet for girls' crushes; he wasn't exactly movie star good looking, but he was striking in being: a) male, b) younger than most of the other teachers, and c) possessed of a better figure than the couple of other young male teachers at the high school.

Not that even less young and fit people won't also attract crushes if they're in a teaching role.

another undergrad

Hello, I happened to stumble across this blog entry today, and I have to say that I am very glad I did-- it makes me feel immensely better about my own prof. crush.

Everything you mentioned is true for me, at least, only I hadn't been able to articulate it. I thought, "What is wrong with me? Why am I obsessing over my married, 40-something teacher, who objectively speaking isn't even that good looking?"

It's easy for me to think this is abnormal-- none of my friends or classmates have ever told me about having such a crush. I think perhaps? we realise that the student-teacher relationship is in a way sacred, and that talking about it might call it into question-- but that's just my situation. Also, if it is as prevalent as you all say it is (which I'm sure it is), it makes me feel rather silly, and maybe will help me get over it ASAP, hah.

I have to agree with your friend Tiffany, that it's about getting in the teachers mind. And I also agree with your use of the word "seduction", there is definitely something very passionate and energising about a good lecture. It's wonderful, really, a good class.

So once again, I thank you. I feel much better now. This is just a sign that I have a good, effective teacher.

I do have some nice fantasies, though..... hahaha.. Oh, the shame.

djw

I'm glad to see an uninterested party felt the same way I did about the officiating. The wrongs can't be righted, of course, but the fine boys of GMU took a step in that direction.

Hugo

Lynn, it's always the historians, isn't it? ;-)

Cats and Dogma, an excellent topic for another post. I agree with you completely on the real nature of "crushes on students"... thanks for suggesting that angle.

Undergrad. enjoy the fantasies. Just don't forget to take good notes.

One of your former students

Oh gosh, Hugo, this is soooo funny coming from you.

Seriously, do you think you are so highly rated at Rate My Prfoessor just because of how you teach? You ARE a good teacher, and like that professor, you do mix arrogance iwth being "self-deprecating".

But when I was looking at you in History 1A I wasnt getting excited about Rome or the Hebrews. Hugo you were in some serious fantasies of mine.
I do believe that some girls might have crushes on you because of what you awaken in them. But some of us are just looking at you and your body and imagining all kinds of things that would make you blush.

Hugo

Well, former student, if you're saying "oh gosh", then somethings I say in class rubbed off on you!

JDOGG

Dude, my gf was just like your Tiffany girl. She is in your class and says she has a "inocent crush" on you. I was pissed until she said all she really wnts is for you to pay attention to her. She told me to read this post and I have so much more respect for you now. Everyone said you were this hot teacher and it pissed me off but you seem pretty cool.

I'm taking your class this summer.

JDOGG

sea

Really smart to start this conversation. (Me discovering it just now) I think it helps, like the one gal with the crush issue mentioned, to sort of deflate or lend a context a perspective to the one with the (sometimes vicious and painful) *crush*. You think you're the only one and the object of your crush is the only one and this is it.

This coming from someone who, having gone to community college (and then, yes, I had fantasy issues about my teach) but have discovered and had to process other avenues of crushland which made no sense to act upon.

Myself not being a prof but a diversity counselor and LMT, it does go both ways as was touched upon. Learning, "this is it" this non-sexual closeness--joy of teaching/learning--is what we get to have and it gets to be enough and it is *good* ... for me is part of growing up.

Darn. Oh well. :-)

I appreciate your clarity and integrity. And the fact that you (and others who responded) are putting it out there would help others think more clearly in those moments when it could get a little tricky.

Sandy

I find it insulting when professors assume excitement about the topic, consistent eye contact, nodding in agreement & wanting to talk about the topic are about attraction to them.

I'm 37 & I'm not here for my MRS. I've made deep sacrifices to be here, & I want to better my life.

It really is hard as I want deeply to discuss the implications of what I'm learning, but am concerned over assumptions being made by a professor close to my age. As a result, I tend to try to avoid eye contact & talking too long to him. What a lost opportunity because maybe he can't understand that it's not about him!!

If I was a guy, maybe he wouldn't assume so quickly that this was about sexual attraction.

T

I'm trying to figure out as a student with a crush on a former prof what my crush means and how to learn from it.
I actually went to see if it had a shot of being any more than a crush-well he's with somebody, so he's not "single" anyway-and he would not date a former student, either.
I do still think we have other stuff to talk about-both his field and the way he thinks as a person are still worth alot to me,
I wonder what I can learn from this-how it can make me stronger as a student and take his professionalism into account without undervaluing it because I feel like I've lost out.
Hard to put into words but I do still want the attention and
how do I turn this into a positive and not take it personally?
(Bu the way-I want to become a teacher on some level myself eventually-so I could really learn from this in that respect.)

Fan

OMG! I am so happy I found this thread. I am a student who had a huge crush on my professor for 2 years and as this was my last semester, I attempted to make a move on him.
I first sent some e-mails from a fake address, he thought they were from an old friend. Then I sent an e-mail saying the others were fake and that I was a former student. He responded and was nice. I then sent him an e-mail saying it was me and he never responded back to me and now I feel absolutely awful!!!!!!!!!

Why didn't he respond back to me? After reading alot of the above, I guess maybe my crush had more to do on his intelligence and stuff as opposed to him, as I don't really know him. But still he is soooo HOT!!

Hugo

T, I think the key is to realize that it's okay to ask for attention (in a professional setting like conference hours) from someone you admire and whose validation you're looking for. That's a healthy part of the student-teacher dynamic. Part of my job is affirming that kind of student need, in a professional way that observes good boundaries.

You may find the intensity of the crush diminishing as you spend time with him -- it's paradoxical, almost, but also based on the fact that these sorts of crushes have lots of projection woven into them, the sort that may diminish with time.

Fan

How do I apologise to a professor that I e-mailed and made a move on? I want it to be sincere. How long should I wait before I contact him again to say I hope he can forgive me and move on and be friends?

Jazz

I'm 42yo female and recently took up a degree in Information Systems. I was happily married prior to start of degree. I developed the type of crush you mention. It had its sexual elements but nothing I would have taken further. Sadly for me, I feel it went to the lecturers head. He picked up on it and I feel manopolised the situation. He is a great teacher and teaches a subject I had intended to specialise in in my second and thrid year. I am the only female of my age group in the class. We had several tutorials and power point deliveries in which he had placed snippets of music which were inappropriate for the lecture. On some free sessions (where you can go for extra tuition outside your normal schedule) when other students left the room) he stayed behind, even though I was not working in his subject. (Generally if an assignment is due, most students attend the free sessions and work on their assignment which I did). When the other students left I carried on with my assignment but after some time the tutor concerned teased me with his keyboard. I.e. I learned typing on an old olivetti typewriter and plonk noisily out of habit. He plonked also and when I tapped at the backspace (I dont depress) he did also but forcefully. The atmosphere was awkward. Some weeks before whilst on topic, when other students left, he left shortly after saying if I needed assistance to email him. So I could not understand why he stayed in classroom that day, but I sparked up conversation out of politements and found myself in a conversation that was not tutor-student but friend to friend. He talked candidly, my body language was reflected. This guy is in his mid 50's and would normally I would not have found him attaractive. Something developed from the power points and the confusion in free periods though. The crush turned into something sexual after delivery of two power points. I felt singled out. The music snippets were from ordinary pop songs played into a tutiorial on software development and had no relevance to the topic. Throughout those power points.

The two power points had the following songs spliced into it:

Me and Mrs Jones
Got a thing going on
we meet at the same time same place
etc etc

The song is about extra marital affairs.

Next snippet:

We got married in a fever hotter than a pepper sprout
we've been talking bout Jackson ever since the fire went out

A johnny cash song. What went through my mind is that he was unahppy in his marriage right off the bat. Then this song:

"My darling I, I cant get enough of your love babe
I dont know I dont know why etc etc"

Barry White...

Next One:

"We must have been stone crazy, when we thought we were just friends
cos I miss you baby
and I got those feeling again
I guess I'm all confused about you
I gotta know
I feel so in love oh baby
What can I do
I've been thinking about you"

London Beat is the group. Throughout the course of those power points I felt embarrassed. As much as I may have been attracted in one sense, I felt they were being played for me and I felt there was some mutual attraction. The chat and the body in synch confirmed it. The day after one of those power points I was walking from my car at 8.30-9am in the morning into campus and I saw him approaching me with sunglasses on. He said hello. I wondered what the hell was happening. I said "Hi" flustered and walked on by. That day and the next I was a complete state. I felt seually attracted but I'm married and also as an adult student I knew the complexities that could arise from anything coming of it. I.e. harmless fling and someone gets hurt. If it winds up being me, I am going to feel uncomfortable studying in his class for the next three years. Next day in his lecture I wrote on my notepad, "Scared, VERY." He came over and jabbed at it with his finger, then sat at the side of me and logged in to the PC laughing. Since then he has lost interest, and I think it is because he was concerned I was taking the unwanted attention in a different way - i.e. harrassment. Unfortunately the innocent crush and him ignoring me had another effect, I started to crush sexually. I was so wound up inside I sent emails to him last week anonymously but he picked up who they were from. By that point I had totally lost all interest in my partner, have fallen head over heels with this tutor, and quite literally fantasized about him when with my partner sexually. It's been hell for weeks. Think my partner must have wondered what the hell got into me as my orgasms have been off the planet. Yes, it is probably funny. I can see the funny side of everything now but have had a hell of a week being dragged in front of the dean.
From your posts about what goes on in the staffroom I'm probably the laughing stock of that also at this moment in time.
I recognise now when reading this thread and how my innocent crush has been manipulated.
It is true that I admired him greatly for his knowledge and his mind and not much else to start ith.
The emails I sent however, he chose to take them to the dean and state I was sexually harrassing him. I assume he is very angry. What I cannot understand is the interest some weeks ago, and now, this absolute hatred. Frankly just approaching me and having a rant about it would have been less humiliating and would have had the desired effect as I am a mature student not a kid.
I now feel it was all just for his ego and when he had had enough, he just spat me out. I almost got thrown off the course apart from the fact the dean is looking into matters more thoroughly now.
Just thought I'd let your know the other side of it and that your students are human beings. Dont manopolise them. I'm lucky because he has made the error of saying I have been harrassing him for two weeks past only. However, I wrote 6 weeks ago to him to let him know that I was not really taking much of his class in due to crushing out on him and most of the lecture going over my head.
What is most shocking is the way he has chosen to deal with the matter. Again I think it is ego. "Look at me, I am being crushed over and this is the extent that I need to go to to get this woman dealt to." I feel nothing but disgust in myself for getting involved with someone who thinks only of his ego and whom does and never did have my welfare as a student in the fore. In all this I have lost feeling for my partner and am devastated. I dont think it will ever be the same again. This man could have set me straight many weeks ago.

Sabrina

Thank you so much for writing this entry. It impressed me to the point of making me reflect on my own teacher crush: a man with a goatee, bald spot, toothy grin, boyish charm, and a remarkable enthusiasm for his subject. I have to admit that the heightened thrill of seeing him was just as you described: rather than wanting him sexually, I needed him as a mentor. He inspired me to change my way of thinking in more ways than one, and I remain grateful to this day.

ratan

Excellent post, Hugo. I've had a few teacher crushes in college. While both women were very beautiful and closer to my age than most professors (I'm a non-trad student in his late 20s), it took me a while to realize my crush was non-sexual and had everything to do with the fact they cared about my work to a degree few other college professors have.

CC

I was professor D's student 2 years ago, and I am still in that school but will leave this year. We had a lot of in common, and I can tell obviously we like each other a lot. I went to see him often and had long conversation for many times, he was very happy to see me and we talked a lot about our private life. I am at my 30s, and he is early 40, single. He is a very attractive man to me. Once I asked him out, he refused by saying it was not a good idea. you were my student. Is there a rule that a professor can not date his former student even they both like each other? I admit have the desire for him to be my boyfriend. and I can feel he has feeling for me too. But why we can't? Is this imoral or unethical? I don't understand. And I feel so sad because he is really suitable for me.

cc

Forgot to say. we start that feeling a year after he was my teacher. Any one can tell if there is a rule even he is not my teacher now, we still can not be together? I think love is no boundary, it is unfair for two people who like each other unable to develop a relationship? Just because he was my professor?

Fan

For what its worth, I have no comprehension of why a tutor or professor would feel he is at a standing in life that he is above a student that is in his age group. When fully consenting adults, it is ridiculous. It's not as if a tutor is a man of the cloth for goodness sakes. Although it feels like your in a position of power, the only difference between the tutor and the student is your on one side of the desk, and I'm on the other. It is an insult to assume that I expect higher grades because I am interested. I thought you'd all liked to know I got A- for my assignment. I probably got E for "tutor material (as in shagability) who knows...
I dont know how I got A- this week when I have been trated like scum. I mean your tutors your not Gods. *shrugs*

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