How We Interact with Students Matters

It’s hard for me to distinguish among the many traumatic events that I experienced in grad school, which was the most traumatic. But thus far, it was probably the interaction I had with the professor in my seminar class. In the middle of one particular class, I had an emotional meltdown so overwhelming that I left the room and didn’t return until class was over. I didn’t feel safe returning, and I felt deeply ashamed of being so emotional in front of my classmates. On my way out of the building, I saw my professor and knew he wasn’t going to allow me to simply go on my way, which I desperately wanted to do. He walked up to me and started demanding answers about what happened to me, answers he wasn’t prepared to receive. My response was this, “I can’t talk about this right now. I just calmed down.” He totally ignored my request and continued questioning me, pushing his agenda which had nothing to do with my well-being. When he was done talking, he instructed me to thank my classmate for collecting my belongings and turned on his heel and walked away.

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