When I have a very tough day at work, I sometimes buy an energy drink. One of those that come in weirdly colored cans. I know I shouldn't drink them but sometimes I simply have to. So yesterday I was walking around campus with my energy drink when an older colleague stopped me. "Please don't take it the wrong way," he said, looking very embarrassed. "But I've got to tell you something. I know it's a tough moment in the semester, and you must have a lot of work. Believe me, I understand. And sometimes I really feel like I need one too. But it really isn't a good idea to walk around campus at 10 a.m. sipping from a can of beer!"
So now I'm worried. Is there a chance that students also confuse the energy drink can with a can of beer? I don't want them to write in the evaluations: "Professor Clarissa is great. The only problem is that she is a raging alcoholic who can't get through a morning class without a beer." It will be particularly upsetting since I never drink beer at all. I find it stinky.
A much older and experienced colleague was once giving me advice on how to make myself the star of our university. "All you need to do is publish like crazy," she said. "Forget about teaching, nobody cares about that. As long as you can deliver yourself to the classroom often enough and manage to stay sober in the classroom, you'll be fine. Oh, and also try not to sleep with students. That's all anybody will ever require from you in terms of teaching."
For me, teaching is very important. I work on my pedagogy and my methodology of teaching all the time. It would be sad to have all that undermined because some people can't distinguish one can from another.