Thursday, October 05, 2006

Dear TA: You're not my mom!

UPDATE: Turns out my T.A. didn't have anything so horrible to discuss. She just wanted me to contribute a little less in class. She thought the other students weren't getting a chance to air their opinions.

I felt very uncomfortable because she kept asking me how I felt. How do you think I feel, you scrawny little blonde bitch? You're telling me I talk too much in your lab even though I've really got the most to say. You're setting me up to fail: while professing enthusiasm for my contributions, I'm told not to make too many. And not given any concrete suggestions of how to gauge what would be too many. Instead, how do you FEEL about this??

I told her I'm not passive-aggressive and wouldn't stop contributing entirely in lab, and I'd try to negotiate a better balance. She wanted more, I could tell. She wanted to know what I was feeling.

And I didn't want to talk to her about that. How I feel is none of her business; she's not my therapist, she' s not my mother. I felt targeted and criticized -- how could I not? -- even though I rationally knew that's not how she meant it. And I needed time to absorb and get over the shock. So it wasn't fair of her to ask me at that moment how I felt. Ask me in a week or two, when I'm not hesitating before every word I say, when I'm not COMPLETELY self-conscious about my demeanor and behavior in class.

All during lab I was very self-conscious and cranky; I was never sure if I was saying too much, and I was working hard to make sure other students had time and space to speak. I felt like she was watching me and conscientiously going out of her way to try to be nice to me. Even though I was a "bad" student for not telling her how bad I felt, she could sense that I was distraught and was going to fix it for me.

Maybe she's threatened by my age and prior education. Or maybe I'm being paranoid. Whatever. I'll feel totally fine in a day or so, but at the moment I felt punched in the stomach. And I really didn't want to talk about it with her.
Copyright (c) 2006 "Ayelet Survivor"

1 comment:

  1. [shudders]

    So did you tell her how you felt, or did you tell her to stuff a sock in it?