My first semester of teaching Spanish at the college level was pretty hard for me. I was only 25 and my students weren't that much younger. I also had a lot less experience than I do now, so I had no idea how to deal with most of the issues that arose on a regular basis. Even though I wasn't much older than the students, they kept seeing me as this substitute parent figure and kept asking me for advice on all kinds of personal issues. It was a Beginners' Spanish class, and to help students improve their writing skills, I asked them to write short diary entries on a regular basis. One day, I read the following entry from one of my students:
My boyfriend goes to school in another city, so I don't get to see him often. And now this really cute neighbor moved into my building. I really like him and he likes me. Do you think I should sleep with him?
Of course, I was terrified when I read this because this is not the kind of a decision where I want to be providing any advice to students. So I responded saying that it was her decision and she should do whatever was best for her. Next week, I received the following entry:
So I followed your advice and had sex with the neighbor. It was great! But now I worry what will happen if my boyfriend finds out.
If she worried about that, I think I worried even more. Imagine how the conversation between the student and her boyfriend would sound: "How could you cheat on me??" "Well, my Spanish teacher told me to!" I spent the rest of the semester terrified that the irate boyfriend would show up in my office demanding explanations.