Boundaries

This semester is really stretching my TAing philosophy. I’ve kind of been ignoring that elephant in the room, until she scolded me for it; I am comfortable listening to her, I guess. We’ve disagreed on things and been disappointed in each other, but I don’t think we’ve ever not had each other’s best interests at heart. Something I treasure and hope to keep, going forward. We will see.

But well, hm. Objectively, I have received a lot of requests this semester of the form: “I know you’re (tired, busy, rushing a deadline due tonight, sick with a fever), but can you (help with course thing)”. Repeatedly, even, despite their stuff being due later or having more flexibility. For every single project. Office hours stretching to four times their length. Scattered piazza posts fishing for an answer rather than for understanding. It is a little tiring and devaluing to feel like I exist mainly as a provider of help, and it is frustrating that people do not respect TA boundaries like first-year students did. Plus it conflicts with my TA morals, though quietly it seems like most TAs become disillusioned with the system as they progress into senior year. The boundary of TA and human, the boundary of encouragement and hand-holding, the boundary of cheating and collaboration..

Well, I will continue to triage. Anything life-threatening or a mistake on our end should take priority, of course. But right now, rather than answer piazza, I will continue to nurse my fever and get ready for my midterm tomorrow and my own set of deadlines. On the bright side, the sharp headache of the past day has subsided.

A little disappointed in students, but at least she is there.

Trains on parallel tracks.

Written on December 11, 2019