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March 25, 2005

Workplace Issues - Can A Student Be Your Friend?

Readers,

Tell me if you’ve ever had a day like this. You’ve got a million things to do, clean your house, take your car in for servicing, buy dog food…you get the picture. Anyway, as soon as you’re showered and ready to head out the door, you hear a timid knock. Before you even answer it, your heart sinks because you know who it is.

The Student Who Wants To Be Your Friend.

Now, I’m not saying that I don’t absolutely love my students—I do, but at times I would like to make the line much clearer between my teaching time and my personal time. Any ESL teacher knows that time is precious because we generally end up working a ton of hours. Because of this I’ve come to absolutely guard my free time. That is, until this one particular student came into my life.

Sigh.

The hard part for me is that whenever he comes to my house to chat (read: practice his English for free), I instantly feel that I’m back on the job. He’s half my age, so we don’t exactly have tons in common for a perky conversation, and quite frankly, my idea of a great time isn’t hanging out with a teenage boy.

So, what should I do? He’s a great guy who sincerely wants to develop a friendship with me, and I feel like a heel for not wanting to respond in kind. But come on…I’ve got dog food to buy.

Living in a foreign land throws an entirely different aspect into the argument for several reasons. First of all, oftentimes, those students are the only people we know in the country and unless we want to hang out by ourselves every day, we tend to accept offers of dinner at their houses, etc. And that’s not bad, considering that it’s a great way to experience the culture firsthand.

But then those knocks on the door start at the most inopportune times…

What do you think? Do you believe that it’s a good idea to make friends with your students? Write me and tell me what you’ve done in situations like this!

I want to thank everyone who has written in with great comments over the past few weeks. I love to read your ideas and input on the situations—keep them coming!

Well, I’d better run. I hear someone at the door…

Until next time,

Michelle

Posted by msimmons at March 25, 2005 01:49 AM

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