The answer is, of course, suck it up. Randy Crane, before I left UCLA, gave me the best advice on teaching I have ever received: students never really understand what you are trying to do for them. They understand their own goals, but often do not understand how to achieve those goals or how the context works. Students often do not have a lot of power, especially graduate students, and they generally do not know how much they can harm others during job talks, classes, or in other contexts. Professors OTOH have way too much power over the lives of graduate students. We should be reviewed and acceptable for our mentorship, not in any bean-county way but in the “are you being an abusive jackass?” kind of way.
That’s all by way of saying I’ve usually been pretty good about limiting my emotional responses to students, being patient, and getting over things quickly. It’s something in my teaching performance over the years I’ve been relatively proud of.
So….weirdly, in the past few weeks, I’ve had something happen that logically I can say is not a big deal but is *sticking* with me in ways things have never stuck before. It’s me: students have said far, far worse things to me and I’ve not thought anything of it.
But for some reason, this one, stray comment really hurt me, and I’m worried it’s going to affect how I relate to this person. It’s a comment I’ve heard over and over and over in my scholarly life from economists, from engineers, etc. I’ve brushed past it a many, many times. But this time it landed home, and I’m utterly shocked at my own reaction and my own inability to just let it f*cking go already.
I feel like I’ve been good to this particular student, and that I deserved better. But…things like this have happened many, many times before.
Am I finally vested in my dignity as a scholar? I’ve always been plenty thin-skinned in other contexts, but never with students. Whatever it is, I don’t like it. Advice?