Dating student in my class

<p>I am currently a grad student and am a TA for an introductory physics lab course for pre-meds. The semester ends next week but I have to give out the final grades for this lab course by the end of this week. </p>

<p>There are a couple girls I am considering asking out after I hand out the final grades. One of them is really nice and even sent me an email immediately after the Lab Final yesterday. She thanked me for teaching her the class concepts, being helpful when I answered her questions, and being patient. Even though she'll probably get a C+ in the class, she noticed that I spent alot of time on grading the lab reports and thanked me for it. Only one other student sent me an email to thank me. </p>

<p>I am really considering asking out this girl after I hand out the final grades, but I am worried that it may be awkward. It is unlikely that I'll TA her class again, but I rarely spoke to her (we never had a non-class related conversation) and she never came to my office hours. </p>

<p>Should I ask her out over email immediately after I hand out the final grades? Winter break is coming up and she may go out of town immediately after her other finals. Also, I am also considering taking a Leave of Absence from grad school</p>

<p>Don't email her. Don't call her. Don't ask her out. Leave her alone. If you are mature enough to teach, you should understand that some boundaries are not to be crossed.</p>

<p>This is the part of the movie where we yell don't do it. No seriously don't. I've seen too many grads get fried professionally and emotionally for doing this.</p>

<p>good grief nysmile, the OP could be as young as 24 and is asking about dating someone who might be only 2-3 years younger than him. He's a Grad student, not a professor. My son is going to TA next year at age 24, and if he wants to get to know a 20 year old UG student, who he will not be TAing again, alarm bells would not be going off in my mind. IF there is only just a few years difference in age between them whats there to be alarmed about?</p>

<p>I think it would be best not to do it. </p>

<p>I don't get why you think you are attracted to this young woman if you've never had a conversation with her. But, assuming that you are and really want to ask her out, do two things.</p>

<p>Check the rules of the university regarding such matters. The University of Texas, for example, has this policy: [url=<a href="http://registrar.utexas.edu/catalogs/gi09-10/app/gi09.appf.html%5DF"&gt;http://registrar.utexas.edu/catalogs/gi09-10/app/gi09.appf.html]F&lt;/a>. Policy on Consensual Relationships | General Information, 2009-2010 | Registrar | University of Texas at Austin<a href="I%20found%20this%20by%20googling;%20make%20sure%20the%20policy%20hasn't%20been%20updated.">/url</a> </p>

<p>While you may not be technically violating a policy like this one, in my view you'd be cutting it way too close if you were to ask out this young woman so soon after giving out the grades WITHOUT informing your supervisor. If you don't, you may be setting up a situation in which your interest in her may be seen as influencing her grade. So, go see your supervisor, explain what you want to do and then follow his/her advice. </p>

<p>If you don't talk to your supervisor before asking her out, you run the risk that this will become an issue. Word that you asked out/are dating an undergrad who took a course you TAed will inevitably get out. Your supervisor and others may wonder exactly when this relationship began and some may just not believe that it began a few days after final grades were given out--they may think that's just when it went public. It's possible that nobody will raise the issue with you, but that your department staff will have a nagging doubt about your conduct which could subtly influence their impression of and support for you. </p>

<p>Moreover....not all young woman are nice and ethical. I hate to say this, but...if you do NOT talk to the supervisor BEFORE asking her out, a not so nice young woman who was less than thrilled with a C+ might make a wholly bogus claim that you came on to her earlier, she said "no" and you punished her by giving her a C+. She might even claim that she sent you that email after you "hit on" her because she was worried about what you might do. Stranger things have happened. </p>

<p>Don't even THINK about asking her out any time soon without discussing it with your supervisor first. If you aren't willing to do so, wait AT LEAST one full semester before asking her out. </p>

<p>From my own perspective as a female parent with a female child, I'd ask you to leave her alone for a different reason than your own career. Do it for her self image. At this point this young woman thinks that you are a good teacher and that's why you were helpful. If you ask her out, the message she'll get is that you only did it because you were romantically interested in her. That's not a message you want to send a freshman in college. </p>

<p>Finally, it's way too soon to know whether you and this young woman might have a professional interaction in the future. She might, for example, need a rec for something and ask you because, though she didn't do that well, you know her better than any profs and can attest to her effort, perseverance, etc. That could raise a whole host of problems. </p>

<p>In summary, I'd suggest you wait at least one full semester UNLESS you talk to your adviser/supervisor and get his/her okay to proceed. Even then, I don't think you are being fair to her.</p>

<p>Don't.</p>

<p>She's a pre-med. She's about to get a grade that could keep her out of medical school. She may have been friendly in the hopes that if her grade was on the borderline, a good relationship with you might tip the scales. Or she may just be a friendly person. But in either case, she's likely to be upset about the grade.</p>

<p>This could blow up in your face.</p>

<p>In most situations, there is nothing wrong with grad students dating undergrads. But this is an exception. You were in a position of authority over her this semester, and any suspicion that your grading of her work might have been subjective could cause you trouble.</p>

<p>Agree with Menlo- After the course is over I see no harm at all in asking out a former student. I actually married my statistics TA after dating post-course! There was about 5 years age difference, which was about what I liked. I made sure I got an A in the course, too (independently of the relationship which hadn't started yet)!</p>

<p>MOWC,</p>

<p>That was probably back in the day before universities had written policies about such things. Times have changed.</p>

<p>I have a bad feeling about this one.</p>

<p>I am with everyone that says find out what the school rules are for dating students if you are a TA. Even if the rules allow for it, I would recommend you proceed with caution.</p>

<p>It is not the age difference that is an issue; Menloparkmom is correct in that it may just be a few years difference. It is the perception of someone in a power position taking advantage of a student. It does not matter that you have absolutely no intention of that happening; it is how it could be perceived by others. Someone mentioned that not all "students" are ethical. You have no way of knowing how she would interpret the move or how she is going to feel about that C+. She might be the nicest girl in the world... and then again.... you just never know. It is crazy in this day of litigation to ever put yourself in such a position, regardless of school policies. Since you don't really know her anyway, there must be plenty of other girls out there who would not cross paths with you in a class you TA. Good luck!</p>

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Agree with Menlo- After the course is over I see no harm at all in asking out a former student.

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<p>Really? I thought jonri presented some very compelling arguments for, at minimum, waiting a semester. </p>

<p>I was asked out by a teacher once. He was handsome, "cool," young, and many girls would have loved to have been in my shoes. It totally creeped me out, though, and I was uncomfortable when I would see him afterward, even though he was never my teacher again.</p>

<p>Sorry, I understand all the downsides, but it just doesn't bother me that much if the course is over. Sure- the girl could go bonkers on him. It's a risk. I'm an employment lawyer and deal with stuff like that all the time in the workplace, but, generally, if there is no reporting relationship, people are free to date.</p>

<p>Really. She may be angry at her grade and turn him down; she may not be angry at her grade and turn him down anyway. But as long as he is no longer in a position to grade her, there isn't anything inherently wrong with asking her out. Dating in general is a recipe for disaster more often than not, but that's not much of a reason to forgo it altogether.</p>

<p>My daughter and her friends would have been reasonably dismayed to be told, when they were juniors and seniors, that they were off limits to graduate students in their department who might have been their TAs in previous courses. That certainly isn't how they viewed the world.</p>

<p>I'm going to set aside the legality/ethics and just talk strategy. This is a girl that you just gave a not-great grade. I think calling her up right away is bad strategy. I would wait until after winter break, and at least a couple more weeks. Then call her up and ask her if she'd like to meet you for coffee. She may ask if it's about the class; say, no, you just enjoyed getting to know her in the class and thought it might be fun to meet over coffee. If she never wants to see you again because of the grade, she won't agree and you can forget about it.</p>

<p>I would advise that you not use info (phone # or email) that you obtained solely as a result of being her TA as a way to contact her (that's creepy). If you encounter her on campus or off campus, after the course is completed, I would be less concerned about initiating a relationship.</p>

<p>Good point, Hunt.</p>

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Your supervisor and others may wonder exactly when this relationship began and some may just not believe that it began a few days after final grades were given out--they may think that's just when it went public. It's possible that nobody will raise the issue with you, but that your department staff will have a nagging doubt about your conduct which could subtly influence their impression of and support for you.

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<p>This. Absolutely this. </p>

<p>If you are going to ask this young woman out, then talk with your supervisor first.</p>

<p>Frankly, I would be insulted if someone asked me to believe that the relationship started the day after finals.</p>

<p>What jasmom said.</p>

<p>I used to work with a former professor and a student needed a better grade than she was going to get so she asked him what she could do and he gave her some additional work so that she could bump up her grade and she did the work and got a better grade.</p>

<p>And told her classmates about it - where they didn't get the chance for additional work. They posted this on RateMyProfessor.com so he has to live with this for the rest of his life. Fortunately he's not teaching anymore.</p>

<p>This is obviously a different situation but what if she looks at it in a different way and makes it public? That happens today with social media and someone doing a background check on you down the road may run into it.</p>

<p>I would recommend finding other opportunities for dating - there have to be many on a university campus outside your department.</p>