update: I’m not dating a student where I teach but people think I am

Remember the adjunct professor who was worried that people would see him with his sister (a student where he taught) and mistakenly think he was dating a student? Here’s his update:

Well, the results are kind of mixed. My sister discovered that the problem was more pervasive than either of us had realized. As she became closer friends with some of the students there, she discovered that basically all of the students who knew of me assumed that I was dating a student, even though most of them didn’t have a notion of who that student might be. And so those rumors spread pretty far and wide among the student body and that continues to be a problem no matter how hard my sister’s friends try to fight it. But on the other hand, and more importantly, I made much more of a point of making sure that every instructor within the sound of my voice knew about the situation, and now it’s something that they all laugh about whenever they hear that rumor from students. Now that the matter is all clear with the faculty, I’m not worried about it costing me professional opportunities. I got a second job on campus and have been recommended by a friend for a third.

I credit your advice with emboldening me to bring up the subject more with other instructors. When I wrote to you, I half-thought that I might have been blowing the significance of the situation out of proportion, and that maybe I should just let it go. Until that point, I was worried that if it became widely known that a student was my sister, there might be concerns about me writing her papers for her or using my connections to influence how her professors treat her. I met my sister for lunch in the cafeteria and acknowledged her when we passed in the halls, but the campus is so big and crowded that I assumed no one paid particular attention to what anyone else was doing. Boy was I wrong, and I’m so grateful that you helped wake me up to what the bigger danger was.

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