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shadowclaw

Thoughts on bringing your significant other to your class?

7 posts in this topic

Hi everyone,

I'm curious what everyone thinks about this. I TA science labs, and they are set up so that every TA has two sections - one in which they are the lead and are responsible for delivering lectures, grading, etc. and one in which they are the assist and mainly just help answering questions and checking in-class work for completion/understanding. Last week, my assistant TA had his fiance come meet him in my lead lab partway through the class period. I initially noticed her when she was talking to a student, so I thought maybe she was a student's friend who walked by and popped into the classroom to say hi. However, she didn't leave and my assist noticed that I caught onto her presence and came up to me to tell me who she was and asked if I minded that she stopped by. I said I didn't, even though I was a little annoyed that he didn't ask me beforehand. 

This week, she came again, this time at the beginning of lab (and again, no one asked me if I was ok with this). We spent a big chunk of the lab time doing student presentations, and almost the entire time students were presenting, those two were cuddled up in the corner (although they were paying attention to the presentations). Bringing your significant other to lab feels a bit unprofessional to me, and snuggling during lab feels extremely unprofessional to me. I haven't said anything about it since the term is now over, but I feel like it was really rude to bring her without asking and that students should not have seen them cuddling (not sure if any actually did, but still).

What's everyone's opinion on this?

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Yeah, no. It's unprofessional and I would not be okay with it. Same as I would not be okay with someone bringing a random friend of theirs to class, especially when students are presenting, without asking me first. It's one thing if they're quiet and in the back while I lecture, but it's completely different if they are actually interacting with students or cuddling during class! (I would not be okay with anyone "snuggling" in my classes, btw). I think now would be the time to gently bring this up with your assistant TA and ask him not to do this again. 

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Agree with fuzzylogician. It's not appropriate for your assistant TA to have their significant other "hang out" with them while they are TAing, and definitely not appropriate for them to be "snuggling". They can do that on their own time, not while on the clock.

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I don't think it is unprofessional to bring them in (haha I am bringing mine in as a guest speaker in a couple weeks) if they are professional about it. The snuggling bit, yeah that's a bit over the line. When you are in a classroom, it is professional serious business, even if the class itself is lighthearted and fun. Save the PDA for outside of the classroom but not inside.

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I think bringing your significant other (or any friend) in a professional capacity (e.g. as a guest speaker, or maybe you want them to observe how you teach and provide feedback etc.) is definitely fine. But if the TA is bored and want their significant other (or any friend) to hang out with them when they are supposed to be working, then I don't think it's okay, even if everyone is professional! As a TA, when you are in your classroom, you are in a workplace, not a social space. 

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Thanks for all of your input! I just wanted to make sure I wasn't overreacting to this. I don't really need to have a talk with my assistant TA since the term is over and I will have a different person next term. However, if it happens again with someone else, I'll feel a lot better about saying something!

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I agree with all of you! The significant thing about relations between two people is the respect! Before doing anything just think about a person who is near.)

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