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Dating Students, Bad Idea or Terrible Idea?

OctoparrotOctoparrot Registered User regular
edited August 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
Anyone as a teaching assistant had students hit on them in class, or vise versa? Did anything come of it? Obviously this is a bad idea if grades are involved. With similar ages, acceptable?

Octoparrot on

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    DaenrisDaenris Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Bad idea. There is very likely a policy at the school prohibiting such behavior, so it's probably not worth the risk. If you really think there's something there, wait until next semester/whatever when you aren't a TA for the person anymore.

    Daenris on
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    Oz K. FodrotskiOz K. Fodrotski Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Daenris wrote: »
    Bad idea. There is very likely a policy at the school prohibiting such behavior, so it's probably not worth the risk. If you really think there's something there, wait until next semester/whatever when you aren't a TA for the person anymore.

    Exactly. It's unethical until you're no longer a TA.

    Oz K. Fodrotski on
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    ForarForar #432 Toronto, Ontario, CanadaRegistered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Exactly. It's unethical until you're no longer a TA.

    I know a TA at a local university who gets hit on all the time as well, and this is the school's/his policy as well.

    Look at it this way; you're in something of a position of power/influence here. This is in itself an attractive quality, of course, but unless you're looking to abuse that power/influence (it doesn't sound like you are), waiting until you're no longer their TA is the wiser choice. It lets you differentiate between those that are actually interested in you vs. those who are simply trying to get an unfair advantage.

    When it comes to potential conflicts of interest, always aim for the higher moral ground.

    Forar on
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    ihmmyihmmy Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    acceptable at our uni as long as you are no longer teaching them (ie, wait til after the class is done with, until then keep a professional distance)

    ihmmy on
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    FellhandFellhand Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Daenris wrote: »
    Bad idea. There is very likely a policy at the school prohibiting such behavior, so it's probably not worth the risk. If you really think there's something there, wait until next semester/whatever when you aren't a TA for the person anymore.

    Exactly. It's unethical until you're no longer a TA.

    It's only unethical if you use your position of power as a TA abusively in this relationship. If you're both mature consenting adults then it's fine, although risque.

    Fellhand on
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    ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited June 2008
    Fellhand wrote: »
    Daenris wrote: »
    Bad idea. There is very likely a policy at the school prohibiting such behavior, so it's probably not worth the risk. If you really think there's something there, wait until next semester/whatever when you aren't a TA for the person anymore.

    Exactly. It's unethical until you're no longer a TA.

    It's only unethical if you use your position of power as a TA abusively in this relationship. If you're both mature consenting adults then it's fine, although risque.

    Regardless, it's still a bad idea. It looks bad, and it's very possible that the student will expect preferential treatment. There's basically no good reason not to simply wait a couple months. I mean, if there's clearly a mutual attraction, you can even explicitly say, "Hey, you're pretty cool, but I could get in serious trouble if we start dating right now. After this class if finished, I'll give you a call."

    ElJeffe on
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    CooterTKECooterTKE Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    honestly you will probably lose your job if caught dating a student.

    CooterTKE on
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    nuclearalchemistnuclearalchemist Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Depends on the school. Most actually have clauses that you can date a student, but that you are basically no longer able to fulfill their TA duties. You can't grade their assignments is the big point as part of this, and you have to get the Professors approval before you do it. But normally you can.

    nuclearalchemist on
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    DaenrisDaenris Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Depends on the school. Most actually have clauses that you can date a student, but that you are basically no longer able to fulfill their TA duties. You can't grade their assignments is the big point as part of this, and you have to get the Professors approval before you do it. But normally you can.

    So... their policy is that a TA can date a student as long as they're not the student's TA? Well, yeah :)

    Daenris on
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    AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Basically, you'll see this policy in any organization with a hierarchal structure - superior/subordinate fraternization is (and should well be) verboten.

    AngelHedgie on
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    SarcastroSarcastro Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    It used to happen to me quite often - as a seventeen year old teaching grade 12 students during a practicum. Some of these girls were actually older than me; I still got in trouble until I made it clear I wasn't taking any of them up on the offer.

    Sarcastro on
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    GonmunGonmun He keeps kickin' me in the dickRegistered User regular
    edited June 2008
    I remember back in my senior year of high school we had a substitute teacher that was filling in my computer class teacher for a few days. The first couple of days were pretty routine then one day near the end of class I was working on my school's home page that a friend of mine normally took care of. He used a template from another site he had made and you just needed to fill in information. His seat was empty of course which was next to mine so she pulled it up beside me, turned it around and took a seat with her legs spread. She was wearing pants that day but normally she would wear a skirt. She asked what I was up to, I had noticed her sit down but hadn't realized the position she had taken until I turned my head. Made me pause and I couldn't help but look. She noticed but didn't do anything, just kept looking, so I told her I was just working on the school's page. She watched me work on it for a few more minutes then went to answer another students question. I'll admit, the teacher was pretty hot. One of those ones that other kids were commenting on so when she did that to me they were pretty jealous and let me know after class. It felt really weird though, and nothing else happened but that was a weird experience.

    Gonmun on
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    WalterWalter Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Don't do it, its completely unethical and you'll lose all credibility with your students and supervising instructor if you get caught. At the very least, wait until awhile after you're done teaching her to date.

    I'm saying this from experience. I hooked up with a former student just last weekend. We knew each other before I was her TA and I told her that we couldn't be friends while I was her TA because I didn't want to have a conflict of interest. My professor and other TAs used to respect me for not trying anything with my students. Now, because I got drunk and listened to the wrong brain, I feel like a skeezeball and am praying that no one finds out. I didn't do anything that I could get fired for but it wasn't worth it.

    Walter on
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    ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited June 2008
    Terrible, terrible idea. When the person is no longer your student, maybe consider it. Now? No way.

    ceres on
    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
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    KyanilisKyanilis Bellevue, WARegistered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Gonmun wrote: »
    I remember back in my senior year of high school we had a substitute teacher that was filling in my computer class teacher for a few days. The first couple of days were pretty routine then one day near the end of class I was working on my school's home page that a friend of mine normally took care of. He used a template from another site he had made and you just needed to fill in information. His seat was empty of course which was next to mine so she pulled it up beside me, turned it around and took a seat with her legs spread. She was wearing pants that day but normally she would wear a skirt. She asked what I was up to, I had noticed her sit down but hadn't realized the position she had taken until I turned my head. Made me pause and I couldn't help but look. She noticed but didn't do anything, just kept looking, so I told her I was just working on the school's page. She watched me work on it for a few more minutes then went to answer another students question. I'll admit, the teacher was pretty hot. One of those ones that other kids were commenting on so when she did that to me they were pretty jealous and let me know after class. It felt really weird though, and nothing else happened but that was a weird experience.

    Really it sounds like you're reading into that waaaay more than you should have.

    And to the OP: Typically if you've got any sort of power over someone due to job or whatever, it is typically a terrible idea to date them. Now if you thought any of them might wait till you're done being their TA, then that might be your best bet. And on the other hand, if none of them want to wait at all then you know they were really just interested in the benefit to their grade. But pushing it now? Even if it is allowed in some form, it probably wont be worth the trouble.

    Kyanilis on
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    cloudeaglecloudeagle Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    No. No no no no no no no.

    If the subject comes up between you two, explain that you could get in trouble, and it would be best to wait until the semester is over. If she's still interested, then you can date.

    Waiting can actually work to your advantage, since many who hit on the TA are trying to influence their grades or are simply getting off on the power trip of dating someone with authority. If she's still there when you're no longer teacher and student, that means she genuinely likes you. I've actually seen a good relationship start out that way.

    But until you no longer have influence over her grades, no dating.

    cloudeagle on
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    wallabeeXwallabeeX Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Really it sounds like you're reading into that waaaay more than you should have

    wallabeeX on
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    PheezerPheezer Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited June 2008
    CooterTKE wrote: »
    honestly you will probably lose your job if caught dating a student.

    This is probably very likely. If it doesn't happen due to official policy, expect a lot of resistance from professors when you try to get a gig next semester if anyone finds out.

    Besides the fact that you're only asking because you know it's wrong.

    Pheezer on
    IT'S GOT ME REACHING IN MY POCKET IT'S GOT ME FORKING OVER CASH
    CUZ THERE'S SOMETHING IN THE MIDDLE AND IT'S GIVING ME A RASH
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    tsmvengytsmvengy Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Fellhand wrote: »
    Daenris wrote: »
    Bad idea. There is very likely a policy at the school prohibiting such behavior, so it's probably not worth the risk. If you really think there's something there, wait until next semester/whatever when you aren't a TA for the person anymore.

    Exactly. It's unethical until you're no longer a TA.

    It's only unethical if you use your position of power as a TA abusively in this relationship. If you're both mature consenting adults then it's fine, although risque.

    Wrong, wrong, wrong. At nearly every company/institution, engaging in a relationship with someone who you have influence over (as a TA, teacher, manager, etc.) is grounds for getting fired. It doesn't matter if you're consenting adults, or if you're not going to use your influence abusively in any way. Just engaging in the relationship can most likely get you fired.

    tsmvengy on
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    LewieP's MummyLewieP's Mummy Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    No, don't do it. Its an abuse of power, exploitative and will get you the sack.

    LewieP's Mummy on
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    RookRook Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Both the HE places I've been to, it's fine as long as you don't grade any work.

    Rook on
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    PheezerPheezer Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited June 2008
    Rook wrote: »
    Both the HE places I've been to, it's fine as long as you don't grade any work.

    It's never fine, it's just not against the rules at those institutions. A lot of places DO have those rules though, and even ones that won't will frown on it. You're not going to win points with administration figures doing that shit.

    Pheezer on
    IT'S GOT ME REACHING IN MY POCKET IT'S GOT ME FORKING OVER CASH
    CUZ THERE'S SOMETHING IN THE MIDDLE AND IT'S GIVING ME A RASH
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    ASimPersonASimPerson Cold... and hard.Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    When I was a TA, there was something in the manual that said something like this:

    "Do not date your students. Do not flirt with your students, do not be coy with your students," etc.

    So, yeah, don't date your students.

    ASimPerson on
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    ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited June 2008
    No, don't do it. Its an abuse of power, exploitative and will get you the sack.

    Which is bad, and is not to be confused with getting you in the sack.

    ElJeffe on
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    RookRook Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Pheezer wrote: »
    Rook wrote: »
    Both the HE places I've been to, it's fine as long as you don't grade any work.

    It's never fine, it's just not against the rules at those institutions. A lot of places DO have those rules though, and even ones that won't will frown on it. You're not going to win points with administration figures doing that shit.

    No, we got specifically told that it was fine as part of our intro course.

    Rook on
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    ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited June 2008
    Rook wrote: »
    Pheezer wrote: »
    Rook wrote: »
    Both the HE places I've been to, it's fine as long as you don't grade any work.

    It's never fine, it's just not against the rules at those institutions. A lot of places DO have those rules though, and even ones that won't will frown on it. You're not going to win points with administration figures doing that shit.

    No, we got specifically told that it was fine as part of our intro course.

    Point being even if they are going out of their way to endorse it, it's not a good idea, any more than explicit endorsement of hazing would make it a great idea to dive off the top of your dorm building naked into the campus pool.

    ElJeffe on
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    ihmmyihmmy Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    with a lot of sexual discrimination claims, there's an assumption that if someone is in a position of authority over another (student/teacher, secretary/ceo, etc) then the person in the position of authority is probably abusing said authority if there are sexual relations. That is to say, even if there isn't a threat of say, getting fired/graded badly, the courts often (not always just often) assume that there is an implicit subtle threat of bad things happening if you do not comply (with sex or bj's or whatever)

    soooo wait until you aren't in a position of authority and yer golden

    ihmmy on
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    VThornheartVThornheart Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    EDIT: D'oh, my fault for skimming the responses. That story about the legs open sitting wasn't from the OP. Ugh. Removed response to the leg sitting thing (which I think was reading too much into it... but that's another story)

    To the OP: I'd recommend against it. Think about it from the non-legal/ethical perspective as well: what's the odds that SHE'S only attracted/interested in you because she thinks she can get something from you grade-wise? You won't know for sure until there's no way that you could give such a thing to her anymore... so the ultimate test of if she's ACTUALLY interested in you would be to wait until you can't possibly offer her anything more than yourself. If she still is interested, then that's perfect timing! If she's not... well, you know that she wasn't interested in you rather than what she thought you could do for her.

    VThornheart on
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    Inquisitor77Inquisitor77 2 x Penny Arcade Fight Club Champion A fixed point in space and timeRegistered User regular
    edited June 2008
    The risk:reward in this situation is kicking you in the nads.

    Two words: Sexual. Harassment.


    And in all seriousness, the fact that you had to ask means that you aren't the type who can do it with a clean conscience (or, at least, doesn't have the conscience to care). So why start off a relationship with the guilt/trust issues? If it's worth doing, it's worth waiting for. Or, going through the paperwork, etc. to make sure you aren't her TA before you start dating.

    Inquisitor77 on
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    RookRook Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    Rook wrote: »
    Pheezer wrote: »
    Rook wrote: »
    Both the HE places I've been to, it's fine as long as you don't grade any work.

    It's never fine, it's just not against the rules at those institutions. A lot of places DO have those rules though, and even ones that won't will frown on it. You're not going to win points with administration figures doing that shit.

    No, we got specifically told that it was fine as part of our intro course.

    Point being even if they are going out of their way to endorse it, it's not a good idea, any more than explicit endorsement of hazing would make it a great idea to dive off the top of your dorm building naked into the campus pool.

    Hey, nice strawman. Maybe if you live in a terribly sexually repressed and litigious society it's a completely terrible idea. But for the rest of the adult world I think is pretty much capable of dating a student without bad things happening.

    Obviously op post should check the rules above anything, and then figure out whether he will or won't be able to have a sensible relationship. It does kinda sound like the answer might be no.

    Rook on
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    PheezerPheezer Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited June 2008
    Rook wrote: »
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    Rook wrote: »
    Pheezer wrote: »
    Rook wrote: »
    Both the HE places I've been to, it's fine as long as you don't grade any work.

    It's never fine, it's just not against the rules at those institutions. A lot of places DO have those rules though, and even ones that won't will frown on it. You're not going to win points with administration figures doing that shit.

    No, we got specifically told that it was fine as part of our intro course.

    Point being even if they are going out of their way to endorse it, it's not a good idea, any more than explicit endorsement of hazing would make it a great idea to dive off the top of your dorm building naked into the campus pool.

    Hey, nice strawman. Maybe if you live in a terribly sexually repressed and litigious society it's a completely terrible idea. But for the rest of the adult world I think is pretty much capable of dating a student without bad things happening.

    Obviously op post should check the rules above anything, and then figure out whether he will or won't be able to have a sensible relationship. It does kinda sound like the answer might be no.

    Shut up and get out of the thread.

    Pheezer on
    IT'S GOT ME REACHING IN MY POCKET IT'S GOT ME FORKING OVER CASH
    CUZ THERE'S SOMETHING IN THE MIDDLE AND IT'S GIVING ME A RASH
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    SerphimeraSerphimera Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Just don't do it

    Serphimera on
    And then I voted.
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    RaggaholicRaggaholic Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Terrible idea. It's even illegal in some states (Texas immediately comes to mind).

    Raggaholic on
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    ReitenReiten Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    You shouldn't do it until the student is no longer your student. Even if it is allowed by your school (unlikely), you're almost for sure going to get a bunch of complaints of favoritism from other students in the class once they figure it out (and they will). The short answer is very bad idea, but make sure to see if your school/state has a specific policy on this.

    Reiten on
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    OctoparrotOctoparrot Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Thanks for the reassurance, guys.

    Waited until after semester, eventually ran into her during extracurricular stuff when I finally could exchange numbers, had a very relaxed date last night, and didn't get fired for disobeying the rules. Should hopefully arrange a second date soon.

    Much easier when people tell you "don't be an idiot".

    Octoparrot on
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    DrFrylockDrFrylock Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Good deal. Yes, dating a student WHILE they are your student is bad, but as soon as that specific relationship ends, I say it's fair game. A friend of mine was a TA and one of her students finished his final exam, put the bluebook or scantron or whatever on the table at the front of the room, and asked her out right there and then. I thought that was cute.

    DrFrylock on
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    RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Fellhand wrote: »
    Daenris wrote: »
    Bad idea. There is very likely a policy at the school prohibiting such behavior, so it's probably not worth the risk. If you really think there's something there, wait until next semester/whatever when you aren't a TA for the person anymore.

    Exactly. It's unethical until you're no longer a TA.

    It's only unethical if you use your position of power as a TA abusively in this relationship. If you're both mature consenting adults then it's fine, although risque.

    Don't most TA's have some sort of homework grading/exam grading duties? Many times professional ethics is concerned with the appearance of impropriety, since the appearance has just as negative an effect.

    Dating someone who is in a class that you provide grades for is unethical, regardless of any sea-lawyering to make it look otherwise.

    RUNN1NGMAN on
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    cloudeaglecloudeagle Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Octoparrot wrote: »
    Thanks for the reassurance, guys.

    Waited until after semester, eventually ran into her during extracurricular stuff when I finally could exchange numbers, had a very relaxed date last night, and didn't get fired for disobeying the rules. Should hopefully arrange a second date soon.

    Much easier when people tell you "don't be an idiot".

    Awesome. And now you know she's not using you for some weird power trip thing. Here's hoping for the best.

    cloudeagle on
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