Dinner with students

February 1, 2009

I’ve always been torn, and erred towards the side of abstaining from socializing with students; although many of my fond memories in college were hanging out with my profs.

Last night, one of our students, who has tremendous herding abilities, got a bunch of our class to go to an Italian restaurant in Sherman Oaks (Spumoni), owned by one of our classmate’s father. It was a lovely evening; the host was generous and a man with a large heart. His daughter wasn’t able to be there as she was in rehearsal for the upcoming opera. We all had a good time and a wonderful meal. Daniel came with me, and a musicology professor, her husband and kids, were there as well.

One must be circumspect about the fine line between friend and teacher, which is similar to being Chair, and being your colleagues’ “boss” while tryng to still be friends. After being in a position of power (teacher, Chair), there is an awkward transition back to being an equal, or a “civilian” as I like to call it. My approach has been to be consistent in both situations. Be the same person with the same values and same honesty.

I think I’ll update my opinion about hanging out with students.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Brad Wood February 3, 2009 at 8:19 am

Good luck with that—it is indeed a dilemma.

Peter Ustinov, who regarded himself as amicable and generally easy to work with as an actor, was shocked and appalled when he found himself a private in WWII and had to report to superior officers who were former “underlings” in the studios. They barked and grinned and treated him like crap, which he felt was utterly uncalled for. Ah the human condition.

His autobiography Dear Me is great fun. He is sorely missed.

Another wonderful curio is his old recording The Grand Prix of Gibraltar, in which he does all of the voices as well as the sound effects.

Previous post:

Next post: