Why won’t you help me now?
It was about 6:00 pm on a Thursday, my busiest teaching day that semester. I had just shut down my computer and was reaching for my bag to head out to a 6:30 class at the gym (the one selfish thing I looked forward to each week). A student in my course appeared in my office with reasonable though not quick or urgent questions regarding the coursework. I informed him that I was on my way out and would be happy to make an appointment to for us to talk the next day. He responded, “Why won’t you help me now? It’s not like you have a husband or kids to go home to.” As a pre-tenure faculty member belonging to a minority group, I simply could not afford the possibility of any negative comments on my course evals. Thus, I stayed even later to work with the student and never mentioning his hurtful assumptions/words regarding my value. I even swallowed my feelings and wrote strong recommendation letters for him after that incident. I love my job and am willing to work hard for my students, but I selfishly admit I wish I could be afforded the benefits of being permitted to cultivate a bit of a personal life in way that seem to be considered acceptable for my colleagues with traditional families.