Thursday, February 16, 2012

When Writing Gets Personal

Nearly every local newspaper in California has created a "Hot for Teacher" headline about a 56-year-old married man who has been ousted from Oakland University after writing a creative essay with sexual undertones, which may or may not be directed at his professor. While he had written essays of the like before, the professor felt that he content was too explicit and was directed at her. Different articles give different ages for the professor, but most agree that she is younger than he is, which provides extra credibility to her case that he "intimidated" her with his writing and that she no longer felt safe having him in her class.

Joe Corlett contends that he has never, nor will ever, have fantasies regarding the professor, though he admits she is an attractive woman. He was simply writing furiously and "fearless"ly, as his wife calls it, and had received good feedback on his previous essays which he says also contained questionable material.

I agree with the teacher in this case. The student-teacher relationship is one that has to have set boundaries, and though at times it can become blurred when extraneous elements come into play (a lot of teachers are also sometimes thrust into the role of counselor and sounding board when familial and friend problems arise), the idea that an essay of questionable nature and intent is written directly to a teacher is disconcerting, especially if it's a male writing to a female.

I am also happy, as many bloggers and commentators have also stated, that this story hasn't been spun somehow, insinuating that the teacher gave an inappropriate prompt, requested the type of writing that was produced, or had led Mr. Corlett on. One commentator in particular had the following to say, which, as clever as it is, rings pretty true, "Finally, a good teacher in a bad situation isn't vilified."

Full local article here:

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